Umbilical Cord Blood contains stem cells that can save lives
The blood left in the umbilical cord after the baby is born, and after the cord is cut, is called cord blood. Cord blood is unique in that it offers a controversy-free way of obtaining stem cells that is quick and painless. More importantly, these stem cells can reconstitute an immune system, and have the ability to treat, repair, and/or replace damaged cells in the body. Cord blood is abundant in Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), which are blood-forming stem cells, similar to those contained within bone marrow.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells offer a number of advantages over bone marrow for donors and transplant recipients. It is much easier to collect, often more likely to provide a suitable match than bone marrow stem cells, and stored frozen so it is ready to use. Whereas a bone marrow transplant requires a patient-donor match of 6 out of 6 (or 100%), studies find that cord blood transplants are just as successful with a patient-donor match of 4 out of 6 (or 67%). Cord blood stem cells are currently used to treat patients with immune system and blood diseases including leukemia and lymphoma.
Cord Blood Facts
Likelihood of an Exact or Partial Match with a Family Member:
- Match for Donor/Child = 100% Exact
- Match for Sibling = 25% Exact, 50% Partial
- Match for Parent = 50% Partial
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