Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby has been delivered and the umbilical cord is cut. This is normally discarded with the placenta after birth, but you have the option to collect this blood to store for your own potential use. The reason some people choose to save this blood is because it is rich in stem cells, which can be used to treat certain blood disorders. Since these unique cells can change into other types of cells in the body, they have the potential to treat or cure some common blood disorders. There are currently over 80 diseases that they are used to treat, including blood cancers, other cancers, other blood disorders, and immune diseases. Research is also being done on the ability of these cells to treat common medical problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as cerebral palsy and autism.
The cells that are collected are genetically unique to your child and your family. You have the option to save these cells in case your child or other family members may need treatment with stem cells in the future. There are private cord blood banks that will help you collect these cells, process them, and store them for future use. There is a one-time collection and processing fee, as well as a yearly storage fee. If you choose to privately bank your baby’s cord blood, we recommend using a well-established bank.
If you have questions regarding whether cord blood collection is right for you, talk with your doctor and look at established websites for more information.