By: Amanda Blount
Today, stem cells are very important in the treatment of disease and come from 3 main sources: bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood. Cord blood is an important source for these life-saving stem cells, and this is why the National Health Information Center (NHIC) has named July Cord Blood Awareness Month.
What is cord blood?
Cord blood is the term used for the blood collected from the umbilical cord when a healthy baby is born. It is rich in cells that can be used to help treat patients suffering from nearly 80 different diseases including leukemia and lymphoma. Every parent has the option to donate his or her baby’s cord blood which provides a substitute for bone marrow in order to rebuild and establish a new healthy immune system in patients fighting to stay healthy.
What makes Cord Blood so important?
The blood from a human umbilical cord after a baby is born contains a small amount of the adult stem cells that can mature into healthy blood cells. Through this process, the cord blood poses little risk to the donors and provides lifesaving blood frozen for years.Since finding a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant can prove to be a long and difficult process, the cells in cord blood provide another opportunity.
How can I donate cord blood?
Cord blood is donated in advance for anyone who might need it in the future, and many public banks ask mothers to register by their 34th week of pregnancy. You can choose to donate to a public bank or a private family bank. In a public bank, the donation is stored and listed on a registry that is available to anyone with a medical need who is an adequate match. In a private family bank, the cells are stored for private family use should a medical need arise.
It is important to educate yourself about the medical benefits surrounding cord blood. Through this information, you can make a rational and informed decision that will have a positive effect for your child, family, and community.
National Co, d Blood Awareness Month – NHLBI, NIH. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/directorscorner/messages/national-cord-blood-awareness-month
What are the advantages of cord blood? – National Cord Blood Program. http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/qa/what_are_advantages.html
National Cord Blood Awareness Month –