With its popularity that’s worth noting, it is possible that you have already come across with the practice of cord blood banking. But for something as popular as this concept, not many fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of cord blood registry or cord blood banking.
What is cord blood and why is it important?
Cord blood is the term used to refer to the blood and fluids left in the umbilical cord and placenta after childbirth. It contains cells called “hematopoietic stem cells,” which are used in modern medicine to treat various diseases. These diseases include anemia, auto-immune disorders, and even cancer.
While these cells can also be taken from the bone marrow, what makes cord blood special is it makes the stem cells easier to collect. It also contains 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow, and the cells from cord blood rarely carry infectious diseases.
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking or cord blood registry is the practice of preserving the cord blood collected from the umbilical cord and placenta. The whole process involves the collection of cord blood, its storage (through public and private banks), and release.
As mentioned, you can store your cord blood through either public cord blood banks and private cord blood banks. For allogenic transplants, which means that the cord blood can be donated to anyone eligible, the storage happens in public cord blood banks. These banks may also store your cord blood for free if you intend it to be used by a relative with a disease that can be treated with stem cells.
On the other hand, private blood banks charge a yearly fee for storage. You may choose to store your cord blood in these banks if you are meaning to have the stem cells ready for personal use in the future.
3 Advantages of Cord Blood Banking
1. Stem cells in the cord blood are life-saving.
Stem cells, which are abundant in the ford blood, can be used to treat various diseases in the blood like leukemia and sickle-cell anemia. They are also used to treat immune disorders, metabolic disorders, and even some forms of cancer.
2. Cord blood donation is painless.
Unlike bone marrow donation which can be painful for the donor, cord blood donation is painless and completely safe for both the mother and child. Cord blood is found in the umbilical cord and placenta, organs that are already out of the body, making the procedure noninvasive.
3. New medical advancements may arise with the increase of popularity of cord blood banking.
You just might be making a significant contribution to the medical community with the donation of your cord blood. With plenty of cord blood donations, experts are able to do vital research on how to treat more diseases with stem cells.
3 Disadvantages of Cord Blood Banking
1. Not every disease can be cured with stem cells or cord blood.
Even though stem cells have been found to treat a number of diseases, and even though more research is underway, it does not mean that stem cells can cure everything. If your baby, for example, has a genetic condition, then they cannot be treated by their own stem cells since these cells will be carrying the same condition, too.
2. Private cord blood banking can be expensive.
Choosing to store your cord blood in a private cord blood bank may be a good step in ensuring your and your family’s health, but private banking does not come cheap. Private banks charge yearly and may charge different fees for collecting, testing, and storage.
3. With public cord blood banks, you no longer own your cord blood once you donate it.
On the other hand, you can always choose to store your cord blood in public cord blood banks which won’t charge you anything. However, once the cord blood has been donated, it means that you no longer own it. This means that these particular stem cells may not be available for you or for your family member if you ever need them.
Cord blood contains an abundant amount of stem cells that are found to be helpful in curing many diseases. What makes cord blood banking beneficial is the painless and easy procedure, making it popular among many parents worldwide. And with the increase of donations also comes the increase of medical advancements and innovations. Soon, there will be more diseases that stem cells from cord blood can cure.