Thursday 10 November 2022

H2: Cord Blood Banking: What is it and is it worth it?

There are many things a parent would do to ensure their child’s safety. You baby-proof your home when they are small and even as they approach adulthood, you’ll never lose that want to keep them happy and healthy.

How does this relate to cord blood banking, you may be thinking. It may be something you have heard of, but you may not know all the details about what it is, how it works or what it’s for. Within this blog, we hope to tell you everything you need to know.

Read on to find out more.

H2: So…What is it?

Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing the blood found in the umbilical cord after birth. Once the baby is born and the umbilical cord has been cut, a phlebotomist will collect the left-over blood from the cord and placenta.

So…why would you want to store this blood?

Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells. These stem cells can be used in the treatment of over 80 conditions worldwide and are a 100% genetic match to the child. This means that, should they need them for any type of therapy or medical treatment, your child will have quick access to stem cells.

H2: Private vs Public Cord Blood Banking

There are options for public banking and private banking.

If you choose to store your cells publicly, they will be available to anyone who requires them. It’s a donation to a cord blood stem cell bank. There are only a handful of hospitals that offer this service across the UK which might limit your options if you would like this service.

Private cord blood banks do cost money which means they may not be accessible to everyone. The benefit is that your family will have exclusive access to these stem cells. It is a safety net not only for the baby but also has the potential to help their siblings.

H2: The Process

If you work with a private company, the process will be slightly different to storing in a public bank.

If you are wanting to donate your cord blood you need to talk to your doctor and midwife to make your decision, call the cord blood bank and ensure your hospital provides the service. Once all that is sorted, on the day you head to the hospital tell your labour and delivery nurse that you are donating.

Using a private company expands your option somewhat as they work with hospitals all over the UK. The first step is to get in contact and pick your preferred options for storage. After that, your company will provide you with your collection kit and, if needed, a phlebotomist to do the collection on the day. On the day let your hospital know that you are privately storing.

Cord blood collecting happens the same way. The phlebotomist will take the cord and placenta into a separate room and using your or their collection kit, collect your specified samples. For a private bank, you will need to contact the courier provided for you who will come collect your samples and drop them back at the lab.

H2: Is it compatible with Delayed Cord Clamping (DCC)?

This is a very common question with a relatively simple answer. Collecting the cord blood should not and will not interrupt your birth plan. If you want to delay cutting the cord, you absolutely should.

So yes, you can do DCC as well as cord blood collection. The thing to be aware of is that the volume of blood collected is likely to be affected. Cells4Life is a private company that can work with small volumes of blood as they have CellsPlus which can get up to 3x more cells from a sample.

H2: Is it worth it?

At the end of the day, the choice is entirely yours. With so many options out there of what to do with the cord and placenta, sit down and have a conversation with the trusted people in your life. You have to find exactly what is right for you.

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