Should You Keep Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Blood?
Expecting parents have a lot to consider to ensure the safety and health of their children. One of the things that currently gains more attention is the harvesting of a baby’s umbilical cord blood. In the past, most people throw it away. However, due to recent studies, many parents think of storing their baby’s cord blood for possible needs in the future.
You might be wondering what the use of the cord blood is and how it can be helpful. There is a medical procedure known as umbilical cord blood transplantation. Most parents who avail this treatment aims to address the symptoms that their child who has autism experiences.
How Is This Treatment Possible?
The umbilical cord blood of a newborn has stem cells. Yes, that is right. That thing that you usually hear when talking about the treatment of cancer and some blood diseases can also help your child who has autism.
Based on studies, the cord blood can provide ten times more stem cells compared to bone marrow, which is another common source of stem cells. Besides, it is rare for cord blood stem cells to carry infectious diseases. Another advantage that it has is that the possibility of rejection is lower compared to adult stem cells.
How Does A Clinic Harvest It?
To store umbilical cord blood, a doctor clamps the umbilical cord in two places after birth. He or she will then cut the cord to separate the baby from the mother. Then, he or she will insert a needle connected to a collecting bag. The doctor or medical professional can collect at least 40 milliliters of blood from the umbilical cord.
After the harvesting of blood, he or she will seal the collecting bag and send it to the laboratory or a cord blood bank, where they will test and store the blood. The collection process finishes in a few minutes. The mother and the baby will also not feel any pain.
You have three options on how to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood.
- Public cord banks
- Private cord banks
- Direct-donation banks
In Georgia, you can choose a so-called family cord blood banking, wherein parents pay a private bank for the storage of their baby’s umbilical cord blood. This way, they will have access to the stem cells if and when they need it. Many family cord blood banks in the country also offer the storage of additional types of newborn stem cells. An example of these is cord tissue. Some family cord blood banks also offer their services to parents who are from other countries.
Is It Wise To Keep Your Baby’s Cord Blood?
People have varying opinions. There is one study that says that the chance of your child using his or her cord blood over his or her lifetime is between one in 400 and one in 200,000. Another consideration of many parents is the cost. Cord blood banking can be expensive. You may think that these pieces of information mean you should not do it. But do not make up your mind yet.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that one in 160 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Thus, it may be better to have a backup plan to help them just in case they end up having autism. Umbilical cord blood transplantation is an alternative way to treat the symptoms of this condition. If you already have your baby’s cord blood, then you will have access to a readily available source of stem cells. You can also use the blood for another child since sibling umbilical cord blood stem cell transplantation is a possibility.
If you decide to store and freeze your baby’s umbilical cord blood, you should keep one vital thing in mind. Do not make this decision at the last minute. It is best to coordinate with a bank and your doctor before you give birth to your baby.
There are also medical centers in Georgia that offer service packages and programs for stem cell therapy for children with autism. Some of these centers also have cell therapy units that focus on this type of procedure. You can also go there and ask them to conduct the cord blood collection procedure for you. This way, they can also ensure the proper storage of your baby’s umbilical cord blood.