pregnancy period  
pregnancy pregnancy symptom pregnancy period
Home Pregnancy Planning Symptoms Tests Types Stages Diet Exercises Clothes Labor Baby Shower After Pregnancy Childcare Complications
  Cord Blood Banking
  About Cord Blood
  Cord Blood Stem Cells
  Diseases Treated
  Pros and Cons
  How To Preserve
  Banking Process
  Why Cord Blood Banking
  Types of Cord Blood Banks
  Public Cord Blood Bank
  Private Cord Blood Bank
  Selecting Cord Blood Bank
  Cost For Cord Blood Banking
  Ethical Issues
  Cord Blood FAQs

About Cord Blood

When a woman is pregnant, her baby is connected to her through the umbilical cord and the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and one vein, suspended in a gel like substance known as Wharton's jelly. This helps to equalize pressure on the umbilical cord as the baby moves around and during labor and delivery. The umbilical cord transports oxygen and nutrients to the baby and then brings the deoxygenated blood back to the placenta along with any waste products.

When a baby is born, the traditional obstetrical practice is to place two clamps on the umbilical cord and cut the umbilical cord between the clamps. Once the baby is stable, a plastic clamp is placed on the umbilical cord near the baby's abdomen, and the umbilical cord is cut close to the clamp on the outside. This forms the umbilical stump which will dry up and fall away after several days. Cutting and clamping the cord does not cause any pain to baby or mom.

In most mammals, the cord is left alone after birth. Blood will continue to circulate through the umbilical cord until it is no longer needed by the baby. At that time, the Wharton's jelly will expand, naturally cutting off the circulation. The mother animal then chews away the excess cord near her baby's navel.

Many supporters of natural birth believe that human birth should follow this more natural process. In human babies, if the cord is left alone, it will undergo the same physiological processes. Blood will continue to flow to the baby, providing additional oxygenation as the baby adapts to life and breathing outside the uterus. Then, the Wharton's jelly will expand naturally, ending this circulation. The umbilical cord will begin to dry up on its own and can be cut without clamping or bleeding.

The blood contained in the umbilical cord at the time of birth is unique because it contains stem cells. Most of the cells of our body are specialized – they develop into only one type of cell, such as brain or lung cells. Stem cells, however, are capable of developing into whatever type of cell is needed. Once we are born, our cells lose this capability. However, there are a number of illnesses that can be treated with the stem cells harvested from blood from a baby's umbilical cord. For example, if your baby is born with diabetes due to damage in the pancreas, stem cells might be able to repair the organ, curing the diabetes altogether.

If a baby's cord blood is to be harvested, the blood must be withdrawn after the cord is clamped and cut. It is them typically stored either in a private or public cord blood bank, depending on the wishes of the parents.

However, nothing in life is that simple – the preservation of cord blood has its own detractors and naysayers. Current controversies surrounding cord blood include whether it should be harvested or left in the umbilical cord as long as needed, whether harvesting should be standard practice or done only at the parents' request, and whether storage should be public, private or both. As a soon-to-be parent, it’s best to research the topic of cord blood in more depth and determine whether preserving it makes sense for you and your family.

sitemapcontact uspregnancy