Cord blood banking is the process of preserving your babys cord blood cells at the time of birth and it can be life-saving to your baby, a family member or an unknown person in the future. Learn more about what cord blood banking is, its benefits and how it is done.
Last Updated: 22 October 2020
Placenta is a small organ that develops during pregnancy. It nourishes the baby in the womb with nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Following birth, blood that remains inside the umbilical cord and placenta is usually discarded.
Cord blood banking is the collection of this blood instead of discarding. The collected blood is then processed and stored at low temperatures for years until use.How can cord blood banking help?
Your baby’s cord blood is a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells are precursor cells which carry the potential to grow to different cell types, tissues and organs of the body. Stem cells are used in the treatment of several diseases like genetic disorders and some type of cancers like leukemia.
Cord blood saved at the time of birth of a baby can help in any such treatment for the baby or family members in the future if required. Even if cord blood is not required for the baby and the family, it can be donated to a person in need at anytime in the future.How is cord blood banking done?
The procedure of collecting cord blood is easy and simple. It follows the steps below:Before the due date
· If you decide to preserve your baby’s cord blood for your baby or your family, you must consult a private cord blood bank well in advance before your due date. If you wish to donate your baby’s cord blood for the treatment for any person, you must contact a public cord blood bank.
· In either case, the mother’s blood will be tested for genetic disorders or infections before the due date.
· Materials that will be needed for the procedure such as collection bags, needles, syringes etc. will be made ready generally at least 6 weeks before your due date and pre-labeled in order to be identified as your baby’s.At the time of birth
· Within 15 minutes after the baby is born, cord blood in the umbilical cord will be drained either using a syringe or directly, into a collection bag.After collection
· Within 48 hours after cord blood collection, it will be tested for infections and genetic disorders before cryopreservation, that is, storing under very low temperature in a laboratory or a blood bank.
· The details of collection, testing and storage of the cord blood will be recorded digitally for future reference.Are there any risks attached to cord blood banking?
No risk has ever been noted of cord blood banking. The collection procedure requires no added medical intervention or cause pain to the mother or baby of any sort.Where do you start from once you decide to preserve or donate your baby’s cord blood?
· Check cord blood banks accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks if you live in the US. If you live in other places, check government-approved blood banks in your country. Also, consult your hospital or health facility about their recommendations for cord blood banks.
· Private banks usually charge you an initial fee for collection, processing and storage of cord blood and an annual maintenance fee. Public banks do not charge. Check the rates, packages, facilities and other factors to decide on a cord blood bank you would like to go forward with.
· You will have to undergo a blood test prior to your due date to make sure you do not carry any risk of infection or an undiagnosed disease.
· Make sure the collection bags and other materials are procured well in advance before the due date.
· The rest is usually taken of by the blood bank, from collection to storage.