Thursday, 30 July 2015

Addressing the Misconceptions about Cord Blood Banking

Have you heard about the stem cell research? If yes, then you might be familiar with its remarkable benefits and recent developments. Discovery of stem cell presence in the umbilical cord blood was a major milestone in the field of stem cell research. In the past, umbilical cord and placenta were discarded right after the child birth, as it was considered as medical waste. But things have changed now. Have you been wondering why save your baby’s cord blood? Stem cells present in the new-born’s cord blood have remarkable potential to treat numerous life-threatening diseases. Currently, cord blood stem cells are used in therapy regimens for the treatment of cancer, sickle-cell anaemia, genetic diseases, marrow failure and more. Moreover, several trials and research works are underway exploring the promising applications of umbilical cord blood

Even though cord blood (CB) is a potentially lifesaving resource, majority of the expectant parents chose to throw it away postpartum. Umbilical cord blood banking and donation is a relatively new concept that is surrounded by several set of misconceptions. This can be considered as one of the reasons that result in the disposal of umbilical cord and placenta.  However, if the expectant parents are knowledgeable about the benefits of saving their baby’s cord blood, then they might think about banking or donating the CB. Parents who find it hard to afford the private cord blood banking prices may consider donating CB to a public bank. Your baby’s cord blood may serve as a life-saving option for a cancer patient.

Some parents question about the safety of cord blood collection. However, the truth is that cord blood collection is a painless, safe and quick procedure that neither hurts the mother nor the baby. When you sign up for private banking or public donation, a collection kit will be provided. Blood is drawn to this sterile collection bag and sent to the laboratory for cryogenic preservation.  No matter whether you plan to donate or bank your baby’s cord blood, make it a point to collect as much information as possible and have an in-depth understanding regarding the same.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Why Donate Cord Blood and Tissue?

Stem cell-rich blood present in the umbilical cord of a new born is termed as cord blood (CB). Until recently, this blood was discarded along with the placenta right after the child birth. But with the recent advancements and remarkable benefits of stem cell research, scientists have discovered its life saving potential. Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases. It is also considered as a better alternative to bone marrow transplants. Moreover, the future perspectives of CB and umbilical cord tissue look bright and promising. And that is why new-born baby’s cord blood banking has been gaining wide acceptance over the past decade. If you are an expectant parent, then you might be faced with a challenging question – whether or not to bank your baby’s cord blood and tissue? For many, the answer depends on their family medical history, financial structure and personal preference. 

Most of the parents-to-be who can’t afford the higher costs of private cord blood banking may decide to discard the CB after the child birth. On the other hand, if you decide to donate the cord blood and umbilical cord tissue, then it can be a life-saving option for someone. Patients with leukemia, lymphoma or other debilitating conditions can be treated with the cord blood stem cell transplant. Donation of cord blood to a public bank is free. When you donate your newborn’s cord blood, it will be listed on the registry and provided to a patient who needs transplant quickly. 

If you have decided to donate your baby’s cord blood, then you need to discuss the same with your doctor. Go through the eligibility criteria for public cord blood donation and check whether you meet them. Find more information about the list of hospitals that are tied up with the public cord blood banks so that you can work through the enrolment process.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Umbilical Cord Blood – Store or Donate?

Over the last decades, stem cell banking has become a significant medical practice for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Bone marrow has been considered as the primary source of stem cells for many years. But with the recent advancements in stem cell research, scientists have found the presence of master cells in the new-born’s umbilical cord blood. In the past, the umbilical cord that act as a lifeline to the baby is cut off and disposed right after the child birth. However, the discovery of perinatal stem cell presence in cord blood and umbilical cord tissue has given it a life-saving status. Since harvesting of umbilical cord tissue and blood is safe, quick and pain-less procedure, cord blood stem cell banking has been gaining immense popularity. Currently, cord blood stem cells are used to treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases which include leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell disease to name a few. 

Families can either bank or donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood (CB) and tissue. Banking CB at a private cord blood bank may cost you a pretty penny, whereas donation to a public bank is absolutely free of cost. If you are an expectant parent, then it is important to educate yourself about the importance and medical benefits of stem cell banking. Do spend enough time in research so that you can get a better understanding about the current therapies and future treatments using CB stem cells. If you have decided to store your baby’s cord blood, then it is important to plan ahead of time. Expectant parents who can’t afford to bank the cord blood at a private facility can think about public donation, as it can save a life. Sick patients who are in need for a stem cell transplant may benefit from your CB donation. So, have a detailed discussion with your doctor and family members in order to take an informed decision.
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