Should you Store your Baby’s Cord Blood?

Dr Satyen Sanghavi, stem cell expert at Regenerative Medical Services, says, “Cord blood banking ensures an exact match for the child and a more likely match for another blood-related family member, should the stem cells be needed for treatment. Unfortunately, if a stem cell treatment is indicated, families who have not privately banked their child’s cord blood stem cells end up searching for an appropriate source of compatible stem cells – searches, which can take months and still, be unsuccessful.”

Stem cells banking can help save vital cells that are present in our own body, which can then be used to treat terminal or chronic illnesses, with the potential of saving a person’s life.

What are Stem Cells?

First, it is essential to understand what stem cells are. These can be found in any multi-cellular organism and are fairly new born cells. They are characterised by their ability to regenerate themselves and their potential to renew through mitotic cell division and differentiate into any specialised type of cell. There a variety of such cells that can be extracted from the human body. For instance, the ones present in the bone marrow are called Hematopoietic cells, which can develop into new red blood corpuscles.

People with certain diseases like cancer, anemia, blood immunity disorders and other such conditions, can be injected with these stem cells to replenish blood that might have been destroyed or damaged by their illness. Stem cell banking possibly gives the person the best chance of survival when faces with life threatening diseases.

What is Cord Blood and why is it Banked?

Cord blood is the blood that is left in a newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta. This blood is a rich source of potentially lifesaving stem cells. Extracting cord blood is a simple and painless process that is done immediately after a baby’s birth. Experts say that cord blood stem cell banking might be a wise decision for future medical uses.

Although both the bone marrow and umbilical blood contain identical varieties of stem cells, those harvested from the latter are said to be a “better variety.” A cell from the cord blood is fairly immature, increasing their chances of regeneration and acceptance in the human body when used in treatments.

Gynaecologist Dr Sonal Kumta, at Regenerative Medical Services, affirms that more parents should opt for stem cell banking. Cord blood is stored through cryopreservation in specialised laboratories.

Cord blood banking is a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve a vital and significant biological resource for future use. It helps protect one from a variety of incurable diseases; the trials for many of which are still in progress but the future is definitely promising.

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