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Cord blood stem cells are also known for their potential to build other types of cells in the body. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Cord blood stem cells are also known for their potential to build other types of cells in the body. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Cord blood banking: FAQs

Cord blood banking is also a one-time opportunity to help your own family

Why is cord blood the preferred source for stem cell therapy over bone marrow transplants?

In order to be used as a treatment option for patients, a cord blood recipient has to match the donor sample only partially (67% as compared with 100% match in case of bone marrow transplants).

While bone marrow matches are often tedious and involve a long wait, the master cell from cord blood can be used effectively, making them the best option.

Do you need to preserve your child’s cord blood?

Cord blood stem cells are also known for their potential to build other types of cells in the body. Since they are obtained from the baby’s own blood and cells, the chances of rejection during medical treatment are very low. Cord blood banking is also a one-time opportunity to help your own family. This is because transplant patients have a better chance of recovery if they receive their own stem cells or those of close family instead of someone unrelated.

How is cord blood harvested?

The collection of cord blood takes place shortly after birth. The baby’s umbilical cord blood will be collected by your obstetrician. The physicians clamp the cord soon after it is cut, insert a small needle into the umbilical vein and use a syringe to draw blood.

How is the cord blood stored?

After collection, the cord blood is sent to the blood bank the parents are registered with. The collected sample is then assigned an identification number, unique to your baby. The stem cells are then separated from the blood and stored in liquid nitrogen (also called cryogenic storage).

What can cord blood stem cells be used for?

Cord blood contains mesenchymal stem cells. These cells can differentiate to build bone, cartilage and connective tissue, and are also effective in regulating the body’s inflammatory response to damaged or injured cells.

Researchers are exploring the use of cord blood stem cells to treat conditions such as type-I diabetes, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders like cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, traumatic spinal injuries, blood cancer (leukaemia), thalassemia (inherited) and bone marrow failure diseases.

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