You are thrilled after giving birth to a healthy baby boy or girl and look forward to feedings, playtimes, first words and steps, and watching your child grow. However, some parents are not so lucky and, although it is every parent worst nightmare to think about, sometimes children develop life-threatening illnesses even if they are born healthy.
Saving umbilical cord blood has become more common now than ever before. This process involves collecting the blood that contains stem cells and injected into a person’s bloodstream to treat 80 different diseases including types of cancer, genetic diseases, and blood disorders. After being injected, the cord blood has proven effective in repairing damaged cells and tissues.
If you are about to become a new parent and are considering saving your child’s cord blood, below are reasons to do so that just might help you in your decision.
1. Simple procedure
Imagine being able to play a role in saving the life of your child, another family member, or an extremely sick person with an easy procedure. The good news is, you can by donating your child’s umbilical cord blood. The procedure is non-invasive and painless, consisting of either inserting a needle into the umbilical cord after it has been clamped and cut or draining the blood into a bag after elevating the cord.
Whichever method is used, it is quick, causes no affects afterwards, and the end result is the ability to save one or many lives.
2. Saves lives
As mentioned, probably the biggest reason to donate umbilical cord blood is because of its ability to potentially save lives. Cord blood carries stem cells and have the ability to reproduce and repair tissues, organs, and blood vessels. It is already being used to treat dozens of diseases as stem cells are present in most parts of the body and approximately 2000 stem cell transplants involving cord blood are performed worldwide every year.
3. Flexible options
When donating cord blood, you have one of three options. You can donate cord blood to a public blood bank and it will be available for anyone who needs it. The second option is paying to store your baby’s cord blood in a private cord blood bank for only your family to use if needed in the future to treat illnesses.
The final option is a direct-donation bank which is a combination of public and private banks. These banks store cord blood for public use but these also reserve donations for families of requested. Choosing one of these banks will allow you to save either your family members, others in need, or both depending on your preference.
4. Benefits your own family
No one likes to think about a close family member’s life being threatened by an illness that is resistant to many available forms of treatment but it happens. By saving your child’s cord blood, you have the opportunity to aid a family member in their fight against immune disorders, generic diseases, and cancers. Stem cells in cord blood are often easier to match to patients than something like bone marrow because it does not have to be an exact match to be used, not to mention the fact that it will always be a perfect match for your child in the event it is ever needed.
The donated cord blood, if saved for your family’s own use, can also be used for a sibling of the child that the blood came from. If your cord blood was donated to a private or direct-donation blood bank, your donation will always be accessible and available to you if you or a family member ever need it to treat a devastating illness.