When you’re expecting a baby, you have so many questions and concerns that it feels like your brain is getting as stretched as your body. But some decisions are too crucial to procrastinate. If you still haven’t planned out what you want to do when it’s time to cut the cord, think about these reasons to consider storing cord blood.
It Could Save Your Child’s Life
It might sound dramatic, but it’s true. The blood in the umbilical cord has stem cells that are unimaginably precious—and this is your one chance to acquire them. If you have cord blood stored and your child falls ill, you can use these stem cells to treat more than 80 conditions, including:
- Immune deficiencies
- Blood disorders
- Metabolic diseases
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Some cancers
It Could Save a Family Member’s Life
In many cases, a baby’s cord blood can also be used to help a sick sibling. With the same parents, a brother or sister will have a 25 percent chance of being a match for the cord blood and a 50 percent chance of being a partial match. It’s also a half match for each parent.
It Might Treat More Diseases in the Future
What we know about stem cells has been discovered relatively recently. As research continues, scientists are hopeful that cord blood can also treat:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Heart diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
It’s Painless and Easy
If a patient should need a stem cell transplant one day —for instance, to treat leukemia—it’s far easier to use cord blood that is already in storage than to try to extract it another way. It can be extremely difficult to find a donor who’s a match, and the process involves injections for five days, a three-hour surgery, and painful side effects afterward. By comparison, gathering cord blood takes just 10 minutes, and neither mother nor baby feels a thing.
Cord Stem Cells Are Stronger
The umbilical cord is loaded with stem cells, about ten times more than you can find in marrow. Even better, these very young cells are more flexible than older adult stem cells. These basic blocks of blood cells are safe from infectious diseases if they haven’t been inherited. They’re also half as likely to be rejected than older stem cells.
You’ll probably receive a lot of baby gifts—everything from strollers to snot suckers—but the most valuable gift is the one only you can give your baby. What is cord blood? Some call it biological insurance. There are many reasons to consider storing cord blood, but it comes down to this—if you can give your baby a better chance at surviving, why wouldn’t you? Contact us at New England Cord Blood Bank so you can learn about your options.