Cord Blood Stem Cells

In today’s political arena, it is hard to escape the controversy that seems to walk hand-in-hand with stem cell research. There is much hope to be gained through the continued studies of stem cells, and how they may positively benefit debilitating and even terminal conditions. However, the controversy surrounding stem cell research often overshadows another beneficial medical measure, which is cord blood.

Cord blood refers to the blood that remains within the umbilical cord after a baby is birthed. The blood is harvests from the cord and placenta, and stored or banked. This procedure is not in the least bit harmful to the baby or the mother. Cord blood offers yet another good source of stem cells, though they differ from those that are obtained through embryonic stem cells. Nevertheless, stem cells obtained through cord blood harvesting can be used in the treatment of medical diseases.

The stem cells retrieved through cord blood can be utilized in the treatment of cancers, such as Leukemia, in much the same way that bone marrow is utilized; and a lessening chance for rejection taking place.

In order to understand the benefit, it is important to understand what a stem cell is. Stem cells are cells that have the function and ability to change and develop into different types of cells that are found in the body, and are considered to be the bodies natural repair feature.

Though the list of diseases and conditions that can utilize the benefits held in stem cells harvested from cord blood is significant, yielding positive outcomes. Some conditions, which can utilize cord blood stem cells, include: several different types of anemia, certain types of leukemia, and some inheritable conditions.

The process of collecting cord blood is rather simple. At the time of birth and delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Then a syringe is used to aspirate the cord blood out from within the umbilical cord. The harvested cord blood is then processed and prepared for storage in a cord blood bank. Of course, different cord blood bank storage facilities will have different procedures for processing and storing. So, research, and question your obstetrician to obtain all the information you can on the subject, helping you to make the right decision.

Those more likely to partake in this option are those who may have family histories of certain diseases, which may predispose your offspring to acquiring the disease. Since cord blood stem cells can be utilized in much the same way that bone marrow is, the cord blood can also be donated in much the same way that bone marrow is. So, if your baby is not predisposed to any disease that may benefit from the types of stem cells harvested from cord blood, it may be possible to do a good deed by donating the cord blood to someone else.

It is important to note that banking cord blood can be an expensive process that should really be thought out, because if there is no real need for them, then it will become an unnecessary expense. Before the decision is made, again, research, and discuss with your physician the reality and reasoning for opting to harvest and store cord blood. However, it is good to know that, medically, cord blood, or rather, the stem cells acquired through the harvest are yet another alternative treatment for certain diseases; and whether they are cord blood acquired or embryonic acquired every person should have the benefits of this treatment option available to them.

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