If you are a parent or an expectant parent than you have probably already received the coupons in the mail about storing your cord blood. But what exactly is cord blood storage and it this something you should do? Well cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after you have delivered your baby. This blood contains many cells called stem cells. These are the components of human blood and bone marrow. After most women give birth the umbilical cord is discarded. But now many doctors and researchers are trying to encourage women to store this. Why would you do this?
Because the cord blood is one of the body’s richest sources of stem cells, many researchers have found that they can use this to try and save lives. The whole storage process starts by you enrolling in the cord blood program. You sign the form and pay your enrollment fee. You are then sent a collection kit in the mail. The kit will include all of the materials that your doctor will need to save and store your child’s cord blood. It will also have the shipping materials to safely send the blood straight to the laboratory, from the hospital. Your doctor will use a needle from the collection bag contained in the kit, and insert it into the umbilical vein, and allow this blood to drain into the storage bag. The bag also contains an anticoagulant, which prevents the stored blood from clotting. It will usually take about ten to fifteen minutes for the entire amount of blood to be collection. Then the specimen is neatly packaged and sent back to the lab within twenty four hours.
The entire point of this process is that if your child every becomes ill and they need these stem cells you will not have to look for a donor because you will have your stored cord blood. Many doctors feel that this decreases your chances at risk for an infection. I feel compelled however to state that this is not something that I personally support. I personally do not agree with transfusions of any type. In addition you will want to make note of the fact that you will have to continue to pay a fee to keep your blood cord stored, even if you never have to use it. There is still a risk of it getting contaminated and incorrectly stored. Remember that people are not perfect and it is possible for anyone to make a mistake.