What is Cord blood Banking?
When a child is born, blood remains in their umbilical cord, even after it’s been removed and discarded as medical waste – this is called “cord blood”. Over the past 20 years, researchers have started collecting cells from cord blood, which are being used in transplants. Cord blood transplants treat over 80 diseases, and new therapies are emerging every year.
How does Cord Blood Banking work?
Cord blood can now be stored, which gives families access to life-saving stem cells – this is called cord blood banking. When parents choose to store their baby’s cord blood, they can use these cells for medical treatment. The child, their siblings and close relatives can all benefit from stored cord blood.
How to Donate Cord Blood
If an expectant mother meets the qualifications for donation, she can contact a public cord blood bank to the receive necessary paperwork. Any information is stored in a national database but is not available for public viewing. The hospital will either have a kit sent to them by the bank or will have the necessary tools onsite.
Have a safe and happy birth! You will want to notify the hospital that you are donating cord blood. The cord blood will be collected after the umbilical cord is cut. This process is painless, safe and will not interfere with your first interaction with your baby. Within 24 hours, your doctor will take a small blood sample.
Your child’s cord blood will be tested for contamination and to ensure your baby is healthy, then will be listed on a national registry. The stem cells will then be cryogenically frozen until they are needed to treat a patient. You may receive updates on your donation after birth but it usually depends on the procedures of the bank.
To learn more about cord blood banking go to http://www.cordbloodguide.com!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
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