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  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
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  Cost For Cord Blood Banking
  Ethical Issues
  Cord Blood FAQs

The Importance Of Cord Blood Storage

If youíre expecting a child, youíve probably noticed a number of advertisements for businesses that provide umbilical cord blood storage. Youíre probably wondering whether or not this is something you should consider. What exactly is cord blood, and why is it so important to store it?

Before your baby is born, itís connected to its mother by the umbilical cord and placenta. Nutrition and oxygen are carried to the baby through the umbilical cord, and waste products and deoxygenated blood are returned to the mother. The umbilical cord keeps working through labor and delivery. Left to its own devices, it will cease circulation on its own. Usually though, the umbilical cord is clamped in two places as soon as the baby is born, and the cord is cut between the two clamps. Later, a plastic clamp is placed on the cord a few inches from the baby's abdomen and the excess cord extending beyond that plastic clamp is cut away.

The blood contained in your baby's umbilical cord is unique because it contains stem cells, which are a special type of cell that are capable of developing into more than one thing. In adults, this process only occurs in our bone marrow Ė stem cells found there are capable of producing any of the blood cells our body needs or of producing additional stem cells so that we donít lose the ability to produce more blood. In addition, there are some stem cells in our peripheral circulation, but they are too few and far between to be of a great deal of use.

Because the stem cells in a baby's umbilical cord may become more than one thing, theyíre believed to offer the possibility of treating a number of serious diseases and conditions. The first successful use of umbilical cord blood occurred in 1988. At that time, a child suffering from a rare and fatal form of anemia known as Fanconi's anemia was treated with umbilical cord blood. The child survived and now more than 45 different conditions can potentially be treated with the stem cells found in umbilical cord blood.

Medical research into the possible uses for umbilical cord blood is currently underway. Right now, the majority of uses center around disorders and cancers of the blood and immune system, along with certain inherited and genetic conditions. Imagine having a genetic condition that can be cured entirely by receiving new cells that donít contain the genetic flaw. This is just one of the potential solutions that could come from the use of umbilical cord blood in the future.

Itís important to store your child's umbilical cord blood at birth because itís the only opportunity youíll have to obtain this potentially life-saving resource. Once the cord blood is obtained, it can be stored at either a public or private cold blood bank. But unless you make arrangements ahead of time to have the cord blood stored, it will be discarded as medical waste, along with the umbilical cord and placenta, and any hopes for its potential use in the future.

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