After the birth of the baby, the umbilical cord, which was the channel through which the developing fetus received nutrients, is discarded. Recent studies have shown that by preserving the cord blood, you can protect your child from several illnesses in the future. Cord blood banking is a facility that helps to preserve the cord blood of the newborn.
Benefits of cord blood banking
The blood that remains in the umbilical cord after delivery is known as cord blood. It contains stem cells, which are immature cells that can produce new blood cells. The stem cells can be used for treating several life threatening illnesses. Some diseases, which could be successfully treated with stem cells include, sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, leukemia, lymphoma and severe combined immune deficiency disease.
Stem cells are also used for speeding up the recovery process of certain cancer patients after undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
The recipient’s body readily accepts the immature stem cells present in the cord blood. Therefore compared to bone marrow transplants that use the similar hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) as the cord blood, the success rate of treatments using cord blood is greater.
Disadvantages of cord blood banking
If your child or his/her siblings become ill with specific diseases, the stored cord blood could be used for treating them. However, certain genetic diseases could not be treated with the cord blood. The stem cell in the cord blood might contain the same genetic defects, which would make them unsuitable for treatment.
Moreover, the limited number of stem cells available in the cord blood could only be used for treating children suffering from specific health disorders. The amount of stem cells in the cord blood might not be enough for treating diseases in adults.
Often parents hope to treat an older child suffering from a disease with the cord blood of their newborn. Unfortunately, only in 25 percent cases the stem cells of the siblings might match.
Researchers have observed that although your body will not reject its own stem cells, in certain cancers stem cells received from another donor is more effective in treating the disease.
With advancement in stem cell research, health experts believe that umbilical cord blood could help to cure health disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, heart failure, diabetes and spinal cord injuries. Therefore, you can consider banking your newborn’s cord blood that could help him sometime in the future.