When your baby is born, the blood left inside the umbilical cord is very special. It contains stem cells, which “know” how to find injured cells and tissue in the body and may initiate the healing process.1Cord blood banking, also known as newborn stem cell preservation, is the process of saving the remaining blood in the umbilical cord, after birth, for potential future use.
For over twenty years, millions of families have chosen to either donate their baby’s newborn stem cells or preserve them for their family. If they choose neither, their newborn’s stem cells are discarded as medical waste.
And if you’re planning to do delayed cord clamping? You don’t have to choose. It’s possible to do both!
Why bank cord blood?
First, if you donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood, you may be able to help someone else because the cord blood may be used by a patient in medical need. Check with your hospital to see if this option is available in your area.
Alternatively, many families choose to preserve the cord blood with a family bank, where it’s saved for their child (or their child’s siblings) for potential future use. Most hospitals and birthing centers will be able to collect the cord blood, however it needs to be set up by the family in prior to delivery.
Cord blood has a long history of helping people. It has been used to regenerate healthy blood and immune systems in more than 40,000 transplants worldwide, from both donated and privately banked cord blood.2
Cord blood has been used in the treatment of over 80 conditions, including certain cancers and disorders of the blood and immune system. As researchers continue to learn more about the power of these cells, the future looks bright; in fact, there are about 100 early-phase clinical trials in progress worldwide studying cells from cord blood to help advance current applications in stem cell transplants and to investigate possible future application so of newborn stem cells in regenerative medicine.3
So how does matching between siblings work? Your child will always be a perfect match for his or her preserved cord blood stem cells, and full siblings have up to a 75% chance of being at least a partial match. Depending on the condition being treated, a physician may use a child’s own stem cells, or may prefer to use those from a partial or full-matched donor, like a sibling.
Think of it like starting a savings account for your child at birth, only in this case it’s like a healthsavings account that may potentially benefit someone in your immediate family for future health treatments.
How do you collect cord blood?
The collection process is easy and painless. You’d need a collection kit, shipped to you by your cord blood company, which you would take with you to the hospital on the big day.
After your baby has been delivered and the umbilical cord is clamped, the doctor will draw the remaining blood and place it in the collection kit. Then a family member calls the medical courier, who picks it up from your hospital and delivers it to your cord blood company’s laboratory.
Want to learn more?
If you’re interested in hearing about your options, start with Cord Blood Registry® (CBR), the world’s largest and most experienced newborn stem cell company. Since 1992, families have entrusted CBR to store more than 700,000 cord blood and cord tissue samples.
As part of their commitment to advancing the clinical applications of newborn stem cells, CBR has helped over 400 families use their cord blood samples for established transplant medicine and experimental regenerative applications.
- Meier C, Middlelanis J, Wasielewski B, et al. Spastic paresis after perinatal brain damage in rats is reduced by human cord blood mononuclear cells. Pediatr Res. 2006;59:244-249.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16439586
- Ballen, K. Update on umbilical cord blood transplantation. F1000Res. 2017;6:1556. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11952.1.
- Data on file from www.clinicaltrials.gov, January 2018