Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Basic of Cord Blood Banking

There is still so less information about what a cord blood bank, when there are those who have already had their own “savings”! The aim of this article is to share about a few basic information related to the cord blood banking.

What is a cord blood bank?

A cord blood bank is a facility almost like a blood bank, the differences is that it stores umbilical cord blood that is obtained just after a child is born. The cord blood is collected after the umbilical cord has been cut and is extracted from the fetal end of the cord. The extracted volume range from 75 to 100 ml. It is usually done within 10 minutes of giving birth.

Why takes cord blood?

The cord blood is not the same as ordinary blood, it contains hematopoietic stem cells which is the progenitor cells that can form red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Thus, the cord blood cells are currently used to treat blood and immune system related genetic diseases, cancers and blood disorders.

Even so, it must be realized that cord blood is unlike stem cells. Stem cells is characterized by the ability to renew themselves and can form diverse range of cells, unlike the cord blood that can only form blood cells.

The benefits of the cord blood?

As it has been explained above, the cord blood contains hematopoietic cells, thus it can be transplanted to treat diseases of blood,such as:

* baby cordLeukemia
* Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
* Hodgkin disease
* Thalassemia
* Sickle cell anemia
* Fanconi’s anemia
* Sever combined immune deficiency
* Anaplastic anemia
* Neuroblastoma

Using the cord blood that's less-than-completely matched human leukocyte antigen in treating those patients possibly less risky in terms of causing graft-vs-host disease than mismatched cells from either a related or unrelated donor.

Yet, the gene-therapy research involving modification of autologous cord blood stem cells for treatment of childhood genetic disorders remains experimental at present even if it may ultimately prove to be beneficial in later years.

To save or not to save?

So far, there are no universal guidelines on getting an “investment” in the cord blood banking. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the AAP on 2007 has issued some guidance and recommendations that you can used. These specific recommendations are:

Parents who are encouraged to donate their child’s cord blood are those who have an older child with a condition that could benefit from transplantation thus, allowing immediate possible donation to a first-degree relative.

Physicians involved in procurement of cord blood should be aware of cord blood collection, processing, and storage procedures as set forth in the guidelines.

Informed consent is of the utmost importance. Physicians should provide accurate information about the potential benefits and limitations of allogeneic and autologous cord blood banking and transplantation and they also have to consider about the possible emotional vulnerability of pregnant women and their families and friends. It is important to be sure that the decision is not made under duress.

Parents who wish to store their children’s cord blood are strongly advised to search for details information about the facilities, i.e. the national accreditation standards developed by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Trade Commission, and similar state agencies in the corresponding countries.

Heretofore, it is more bucked up to donate those cord blood to the public cord blood bank rather investing them in of the private bank. However, this public cord blood bank perhaps inaccessible for few countries. Therefore, in this case highly recomended to consult with the physicians or pediatricians about using the private cord blood facilities.

Finally, the question of whether one should have this kind of “saving” or not, can't be easily answered. The decision, after all, is back to the parents themselves in spite of whatever the physicians have recommended. Yet seeing that these cord blood savings are not cheap, therefore, it is wise if think it more carefully before make a decision.

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