Stem cells are those cells that can regenerate and get divided into three different categories of cells, namely the red blood cells, white blood cells and even platelets at times. These cells are available in different parts of the body the most common being the spinal column. But the procedure done to extract these cells is extremely painful and at times could be life threatening too. When a doctor was required to harvest these cells they would follow a long process to determine the donor so as to match before being transplanted. However, today this process can be phased out slowly with the introduction of umbilical cord blood banking. This process has made it easier to get stem cells required to fight against various diseases.
This newly invented scientific process is where the stem cells gathered from the umbilical cord blood are conserved in the cord blood bank for future use. Umbilical cord blood banking has made it possible for the child to fight against quite a few threatening diseases with the help of cord blood. These stem cells require extremely hygienic atmosphere and a specific temperature for their preservation. Hence various precautions are adopted while preserving this blood.
To understand better, one needs to know what the umbilical cord is. To tell you, the umbilical cord is the cord that links the developing embryo or foetus to the mother’s placenta, which allows the blood to carry oxygen and nourishment to the baby in the womb. Once the baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is severed. This was earlier discarded along with the placenta as medical waste, till scientists became aware of its potential medically.
How does this work?
The blood is collected from the umbilical cord after childbirth during the process of umbilical cord blood banking. Once it is collected this blood is frozen and reserved on the name of the child it has been saved for. To begin this process the parents should decide to save the blood and sign up with one of the well known cord blood banks in the country. Once they sign up the blood bank is informed about child birth which is when they send their technicians to pick up the cord lining as well as the cord blood to be preserved and complete any other formalities required. These banks charge a fee to save the blood since they may be required in the future and not immediately. The charges vary depending upon the bank you have decided upon. These stem cells are made available to the person when required.
Why is saving your cord blood important?
It is important today because it’s a rich and easy source of stem cells. Also these cells are relatively pure when compared to cells harvest from your body, since they have not been exposed to pathogens. This makes them free from being carriers of any other diseases. Not only this, but also these cells are the easiest to match and the process is faster than searching for a donor of stem cells. So it makes perfect sense to think of umbilical cord blood banking for your child’s future.