Info On Cord Blood Banking

By: Anitac
Cord blood banking is the process of collection, processing and storing of stem cells extracted from the placenta and the umbilical cord for future uses. The cord blood will then be available to your child or any of your family members later if they become sick. It can thus help in the treatment of life threatening diseases especially blood related diseases like leukemia and cancer. Stem cells collected from this blood can be transplanted in later years onto the child or his family member if any life threatening diseases arise.

Cord blood collection is a safe and painless procedure and can be done only once at birth. It is collected after the baby is born and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Collections are either by syringe method or by bag collection method. The cells should be processed and preserved within 48 hours. It then is tested to check the eligibility standards. Red blood cells and Plasma which are not needed for transplantation are removed. It is frozen in minus 200 degree centigrade and is stored in vinyl or plastic bag and frozen in liquid nitrogen. It is also stored in vials. Look for those banks which will store in multiple vials or bags and not in single vials or bags. It helps in treating many people rather than one. It can be stored for up to 20 years.

There are three types of cord blood banks. One is family bank or also known as private cord blood bank and the other is public donor bank. Now a third type of bank has emerged which is public- private hybrid. Currently there are only two other hybrid banks in the country. In family banks it is stored for your family's personal use while in public donor banks for publics or non-related person's use i.e. there is no guarantee that your child's cord blood will be available to your child when it is needed. It can be donated for free. It is always advisable to select an accredited blood bank especially by AABB American Association of Blood Banks for Cord Blood Banking. Currently in 2006 the cost of private banking is around $600 to $2000 as a one time fee at the beginning and approximately $80 to $100 per year for maintenance. In hybrid banks the public side of the bank will accept the cord blood and will enter it to the national databank so that it will be available to anyone with a good genetic match. On the private side it will cover the cost like any private banks. Private banking is unlawful in France and Italy so doctors advice to donate it. It is also opposed by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies.

Cord blood banking is usually done by the parents so that they can be confident that if in future the need to transplant arises for the child the most perfect matching stem cells will be available. Fathers and siblings will have a 25% chance of matching stem cells. It can also be used for grandparents and cousins if it matches. If you or any one in your family already has any disease like sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, leukemia, thalassemia, metabolic storage disorders or certain genetic immunodeficiencies it is advisable to store your child's cord blood. The chances that a child will need to use his stem cells are 1 in 2500. So some consider the money spend on it as waste.
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