Stem cells are obtained from the umbilical cord blood, these dedicated cells should be frozen and stored in a special bank. The value of cord blood is in the biologically active stem cells that are beneficial for the needs of cell therapy and transplantation.
Everyone who needs umbilical cord blood can use public banks for donor cord blood. However, it’s very difficult to find a suitable donor: it has to be compatible with the major antigenic system; otherwise, the patient can get a rejection reaction. To protect your future health it is possible to have your children’s cord blood collected and stored after birth and it will always will be available for transplantation. The procedure of cord blood storage is well developed and it’s available on a contract basis for any parents.
What Is the Value of an Umbilical Cord?
The umbilical cord has a huge reserve of hematopoietic stem cells that are the cell-progenitors of blood. They are available for transplantation when your own blood formation system is broken: for example, in leukemia, serious immune system disorders, and other diseases. Those who oppose cord blood storage state that such pathologies are rare. On the other hand, the stem cells can be used more broadly. In any case, already now we have completed thousands of successful cord blood transplants that have saved the lives of patients with incurable diseases.
The umbilical cord blood is not the only source of hematopoietic cells, but it has a large number of advantages: easy and safe to collect, youth, and therefore a high functional activity of stem cells and immunological compatibility.
Other family members can use newborn cord blood for treatment. It is likely to result in a successful transplantation of blood to the parents, grandparents, and even cousins. However, children from a large family have more chance to be compatible.
Every parent must make their own decision about banking cord blood depending on their financial situation and necessity. First, you need to know that children with the predisposition to the hematopoietic diseases need to get cord blood of cousins and ethnic minorities because it is difficult to find a compatible donor for them.
How Does Cord Blood Banking Work?
After the birth of the baby, the nurse secures and clamps the cord. Then she uses a sterile solution for the maternal end of the umbilical cord and uses a needle to collect blood from the umbilical vein in a special sterile container with an anticoagulant. Usually, there is not too much cord blood, about 80 ml, so it’s sensible to also remove all available blood from the placenta.
The procedure is painless and takes a few minutes. You can have it done immediately after normal childbirth and cesarean section. Moreover, it’s technologically possible to collect umbilical cord blood of each child in multiple pregnancies.
How to Get Stem Cells?
In one day after collecting the sample, it must get into the bank. Before banking, it goes through a complete process. To concentrate on stem cells you should test the sample for infection, the blood group, and Rh factor. The special device removes excess plasma and red blood cells. Tests of the concentration under the microscope helps to detect cell viability. The next step is solidification, which should not lead to cell death. Therefore, a cryoprotectant protects cells from the formation of sharp ice crystals. Then the concentrate stays frozen to -90 ° C in quarantine storage (vapors of liquid nitrogen, -150 ° C) until the results of all tests are available. Finally, after 20 days samples go to a permanent storage (liquid nitrogen, -196 ° C).
After processing, there are 5 to 7 vials of concentrate. In addition to the main tube, there are a few tube-satellites. They contain the minimum amount of plasma and cells for analysis. For example, if the blood owner wants to use it for his relative and it is necessary to check it for compatibility, there is no need to defrost the basic sample. It will be enough to take the tube-satellite.
What Is the Process of Banking Stem Cells?
Cord blood cells are stored in special containers with liquid nitrogen in a separate room, which is located deep underground. The special automated system controls low temperature and the level of liquid nitrogen. It will work even without central electric power. Cord blood banks ensure the donations are protected at all times.
There’s no doubt that they remain viable for 15-17 years. In theory, all the frozen cells can be stored indefinitely.
Who Is the Owner of the Stem Cells?
Parents or the person who is listed in the storage contract are the owners of the cord blood cells reserve before the adult age of a child.
How Much Does Cord Blood Banking Cost?
For all these processes of cord blood cells, you have to pay between about $1,200 to $5,000, plus annual storage costs of about $90 to $180.
More details of price comparations: https://www.americordblood.com/pricing/comparison-chart/
What Should You Do If You Want to Save the Cord Blood?
At any pregnancy stage, you just need to come to the cord blood bank to be tested for infection and then to sign a contract. Then, the bank’s employees deliver a collection set with the unique barcode to a hospital, and you should discuss your plans with your doctor and nurse to provide collection and delivery of blood to the bank, where the blood will be processed to prepare to store the stem cells.
It doesn’t matter if childbirth is natural or cesarean section, when the mother to be is admitted to the hospital for the delivery, you just need to call the cord blood bank during daytime hours to report the location so bank employees can communicate with the doctors to arrange for the collection and delivery to the lab.