What is cord blood banking?
A new procedure has been created to protect children, parents who want to make sure that their child will have support just in case any health issues occur could opt for Cord blood banking.
The proponents of Cord blood banking are stating that this act of protecting the umbilical cord is a form of insurance for parents just in case their kids get sick.
How is the process done?
After giving birth, the parents can request for the umbilical cord of the baby to be stored, they would be asked a certain storage fee for the private blood bank.
This process is done with the belief that the blood found in it is rich in stem cells, these cells could be transformed into any human cell, this could one day save the child from certain life threatening diseases, and it could also be used for a sick sibling or relative.
Blood banks argue that this method is needed in order to preserve live-saving cells that could one day save the life of their loved ones.
Is the Cord blood worth saving?
According to the research done by the proponents of the cord blood banking, stem cells are still immature cells that could reproduce on their own; they have the ability to turn into other types of cells.
These cells found in the umbilical cord and the bone marrow is called hematopoietic progenitor cells or HPCs.
Some believers are claiming that the stem cells found in the stored umbilical cord could one day be used to fight leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other health problems.
The HPC stem cells could be injected to the blood supply; this will then create new and healthy cells.
This will be effective for people who have leukemia; their body would be able to recover after the chemotherapy process.
What are others saying about this process?
Other medical researchers are not really refuting the claim cord blood cells can be lifesaving, in fact it has already been proven that it is a good source of blood-forming stem cells especially for people who have certain diseases.
A lot of people have already used this method, but most come from bone marrow transplants and not directly from cord blood.
How many cord blood banks are in operation in the United States?
Most developing countries still do not have the option of cord blood banking, but in the United States cord blood banking has become a profitable business.
There are over twenty private banks that are operating in the U.S since the year 1992. People are used to seeing ads for stem cell banking almost everywhere, even in doctor’s offices who support this method.
There is a lot of advertising and publicity involved in cord blood banking since it was introduced but up until the year 2005 much has yet to be seen with regards to the claim of cord blood banks.
Up to the present time, there are still very few recorded cases of individuals using the stem cells that were stored; this is due to the fact that there are very few cases of disease that could actually be cured using the cord blood stem cells.
What is the initial cost for the storage service?
The initial cost for the storage service will usually be at $1,800, it will depend on the location of the blood bank and the processing that is involved. There are also annual storage fees that will usually go as high as $100.
How many years could the cord blood be stored?
The blood banks can store the cord blood for up to 10 years, after this point the cells are no longer deemed useful. Researchers are doubtful that they would still be capable of lasting after this period of time.
Potential benefits of Cord Blood Collecting:
Cord blood cells are said to be more mature cells when compared to the cells that are found in an adult’s bone marrow.
This means that there is a lesser chance that the body of the patient will reject the cord blood cells once injected.
The process of cord blood storage is simpler and painless, unlike the process that is usually involved in the bone marrow donation process.
What are the possible downsides of banking cord blood?
Some experts think that stored cord blood have very little chances of helping a patient, this is due to the fact that the cord blood will contain the genetic flaws that have caused the disease in the first place, so if this is not seen as the cure.
There are some experts who are also claiming that introducing a new set of immune cells from another donor could be more effective in fighting certain forms of cancer when compared with the cells of the patient.
It is also a known fact that leukemia can be cured using other methods and not just through the process of using the cord blood cells.
What is the current use for cord blood?
As of the moment the uses of cord blood are very few, but they are seen to be an important part in curing future ailments like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart failure, stroke as well as spinal cord injuries and other conditions.
However, this are still theoretical ideas and have not yet been proven by research, much has yet to be done when it comes to finding out the use of the cord blood.
Options for Public Cord Blood banking:
Individuals who cannot afford private banking can opt for public banking instead. Some parents have decided to give their child’s cord blood as donation to public cord blood bank free of charge.
Their donation can be used by anyone in the future who will need it; most doctors are in favour of this method for the sole purpose of increasing research and information with regards to the value of the cord blood in the future.
If in the future, the child of the people who donated would be needing assistance from the cord blood bank; they have a higher chance of getting help because of the donation.
As of this moment a National Cord Blood Stem Cell Bank Program has yet to be created, people who want to donate could go to the National Marrow Donor Program instead and learn how they could help others through their donation.