If you have heard about cord blood storage and wondering what the hype is all about, this article is definitely for you. Cord blood stem cells are present in the umbilical cord and are known to be very rich in hematopiotic stem cells. These have a special significance, mainly because they largely differ from their embryonic counterparts. Unlike the latter, these stem cells can develop to form all types of human cells, ranging from platelets to red blood cells. This property empowers them to be used in the treatment of various kinds of diseases related to the blood and immune system. Research has revealed that cord blood can be used for effective treatment of more than seventy known diseases. Therefore, it can be safely said that proper cord blood storage can help save your child during emergencies, especially in an unfortunate situation where a donor is needed.
Umbilical cord blood collection procedure
Primarily, it must be mentioned that the entire procedure is harmless and also free of pain, and therefore poses no risk to your child. The process can be carried out after or even before the placenta is delivered. Health care professionals refer to the terms as ex utero and in utero respectively. Interestingly, the method of collection is quite the same in both the processes. The process entails clamping and cutting off the cords, and collection of the cord blood follows. This ensures that neither the mother nor the child faces any risk at all, regardless of whether the delivery is vaginal or caesarean.
Cord blood storage
Once the sample has been collected, it is then forwarded to blood bank labs for further processing and testing. Processing of cord blood is done to ensure the removal of red blood cells. Additionally, the process also involves cryopreserving.
Proper storage of cord blood requires it to be stored in relatively low temperatures, as low as 90°C. Blood banks use special freezers for storage. An interesting thing in the storage process is the way in which the stem cells are stored. Experts store about 80% of the cells in one side of a plastic bag, and the remaining 20% on the other. The larger part of the sample is used for transplants, while the rest is kept reserved for the stem cells to expand. This is for situations wherein repeated transplants may be required.