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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
  Selecting Cord Blood Bank
  Cost For Cord Blood Banking
  Ethical Issues
  Cord Blood FAQs

All You Need To Know About A Public Cord Blood Bank

Throughout pregnancy, the placenta and umbilical cord work together to transfer nutrients and oxygen from the motherís bloodstream to the babyís. The umbilical cord and placenta return the deoxygenated blood, along with any waste products, to the mother's circulatory system. The blood contained in the umbilical cord is unique because it contains stem cells Ė the unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into a variety of different types of cells needed by the body. Currently, stem cells are being used to treat a number of diseases of the blood and immune system, including leukemia, aplastic anemia and thalasemia.

When a baby is born, unless the parents arrange ahead of time to have the cord blood collected, it is discarded as medical waste with the umbilical cord and placenta. Collecting the cord blood isnít painful or harmful to either mom or baby. The obstetrician usually performs the collection procedure, using a syringe or, in some cases, a blood donation bag. Most of the time, whether the baby is delivered vaginally or by Caesarean section makes no difference when it comes to collecting cord blood.

In addition, there are two storage options for cord blood Ė a public cord blood bank and a private cord blood bank. When you choose a public cord blood bank, you need to be aware that you arenít storing your baby's umbilical cord blood for your personal use, but rather making a donation to a blood bank. The umbilical cord blood you donate will be tested and typed, and will be used by the first person who needs it for whom it is a match.

However, when you choose a public cord blood bank, you donít pay for collection, testing or storage. All of that is paid for from the cord blood bank's funds. This also means, unfortunately, that there are fewer public cord blood banks, as government funding for these institutions is limited. Unfortunately, as stem cell research is the subject of significant controversy, this situation doesnít seem likely to change any time soon Ė even though cord blood is harvested through perfectly natural and sustainable means.

Umbilical cord blood is also needed for research studies. While some individuals make donations especially earmarked for research purposes, some public cord blood banks also make samples available for research purposes. In many instances, a public cord blood bank canít tell you ahead of time how the umbilical cord blood you donate will be used, although it can tell you if it makes blood available for research purposes.

Umbilical cord blood is a unique and, in many ways, priceless resource. When you choose to make a donation to a public cord blood bank, youíre making that resource available for all persons who are in need, rather than saving it for the possible use of your child's biological siblings or parents. If you arenít at risk for any genetic conditions, the odds are small that youíll ever need the cord blood you set aside Ė however, for a patient who can be treated successfully with your cord blood stem cells, the donation can mean everything in the world.

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