Learn the basics of umbilical cord blood storage, procedures, learn collection, testing, and processing in the UK, may seem like a new concept, yet it first began in the year 1983. In that year, the first ever proposal supporting the concept put into effect what is now saving millions of lives.
This, then begs the question, what exactly is Umbilical cord blood storage? And what is cord blood to begin with? Let us first define the concept, in hope that it will help shed some light on the subject.
Umbilical Cord Blood Storage Defined
In an attempt to understand what umbilical cord blood storage is, let us start by defining what cord blood is. Cord blood is the blood that is found in your newborn baby’s umbilical cord, contain stem cells that can prove useful to one’s health.
According to AMAG Pharmaceuticals, stem cells are younger compared to adult stem cells and have numerous abilities. Those abilities, are hence, used to treat various diseases such as cancer, autism, anemia and other numerous conditions.
The blood can be stored in either the private cord banks, public cord banks, or the direct- donation banks. If you choose to store your blood in the public bank in the world, it is important to note that it will be available to the public. However, if you choose to store in the private bank, then it will only be available to you and your family only. Direct- donation is a combination of both private and public banks.
Cord Blood Storage Procedures
Most mothers tend to be a bit hesitant when approached to consider this procedure by a doctor. However, this procedure is fast and does not interfere with the delivery process in any way. In fact, most mothers do not notice the process being carried out.
After the baby is born and the doctor cuts the cord, the doctor inserts a needle into the cord. The needle is connected to a collection bag, which will hold the blood being collected. The doctor is sure to hit the umbilical cord vein, in order to drain the blood effectively.
After that, the blood is then placed in a special collection kit. The kit holding the blood is then transported to a laboratory for testing and processing. When testing, the health care practitioner is usually looking for any infectious diseases, contamination, check stem cell count. The processing increases the chances of stem cell recovery.
Then the blood is later stored in a cryovac. This should always be FDA – approved to ensure maximum quality and standards. The cryovac should preserve the blood over the long term, for at -196 degrees Celsius at least.
Umbilical Cord Blood Storage Cost
As previously mentioned, there are at least three ways of storing umbilical cord blood: the private bank, the public bank and the direct- donation bank. Now, each costs different if you choose to store your baby’s cord blood.
Private cord blood banking is exclusively for you and your family. The collected and processed blood is cryopreserved effectively so that your family can use it when in need. Hence, it does cost a fee if you choose to preserve your baby’s blood in a private bank.
Umbilical Cord Blood Storage UK
Cord blood banking and donation is a widely known concept and is carried out in numerous hospitals. So much so, that the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), regulates the collection, testing, processing and storage of cord blood. The organization even regulates the distribution of the cord blood. That said, it is hence, a legal activity that has been approved.
Any hospital that wishes to start carrying out umbilical cord blood storage activities, they have to be licensed under the HTA organization. They license and approve such activities, and can help any hospital or medical organization from operating outside the law.
The HTA organization ensures that all cord blood banks are of quality standards. Moreover, they ensure that no cord blood is taken from the baby’s umbilical cord without the mother’s consent. Also, they ensure that only health and medical professionals are involved in the collecting of the cord blood, testing, processing and storing. This is to ensure that the mother and the newborn baby are not at risk.
Cord Blood Storage Benefits
Cord blood contains stem cells that have the ability to improve and impact one’s health. For better understanding, let us compare it to normal cells. Normal regular cells create and replicate other cells that are in the same form of the original cell. There is no difference between the replicated cells and the original one in any way.
Whereas, stem cells can divide into different cells that are very different from the original. A single stem cell has the ability to divide into over 200 different cells in the body, giving them the ability to self- renew themselves. They generally give rise to every other cell, organ, and tissue in the fetus. This is why stem cells are referred to as the building blocks of the human body.
So, what are the benefits of umbilical cord blood storage? From the information, it’s safe to say that stem cells can help in the repair of damaged tissues, blood vessels, and organs. Hence, its ability to treat certain diseases effectively.
Stem cells are now being used in treating certain types of cancer such as Leukemia. Usually, when treating a patient suffering from Leukemia, the doctors are trying to restore normal blood cell production. However, if this fails, stem cells can help achieve this.
Stem cells are also known to treat different types of anemia and other blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia, metabolic disorder, and immune deficiencies.