Decided on preserving your baby's cord blood in a cord blood bank? Wondering how it will be done? Will it harm your baby? Here are some questions which every parent comes up with while registering for cord blood collection.
Let us start by answering the question- "What is Cord Blood?"
Cord Blood can be defined as the blood taken from the umbilical cord at the time of birth. This blood is rich in stem cells. Stem cells are those cells that created the various organs and other parts of the baby's body. These cells have a unique capability of "adjusting in any environment inside the body". They can easily be called the cells that created your baby.
How is Cord blood collected from the umbilical cord?
Usually the cord blood is collected after the placenta is delivered and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. The surface of the umbilical cord is disinfected and a vein is punctured. The blood is collected in special blood collection bags that prevent contamination. Alternatively, 60 cc syringes can be used too by some cord blood banks. However, this needs to contain an anticoagulant for the blood. The entire process usually 5 to 10 minutes. Any delay beyond 15 minutes can drastically reduce the quantity of the umbilical cord blood and the stem cells.
Can this process hurt the baby and the mother in any way?
No, this process of storing stem cells in a cord blood bank does not harm the baby or the mother in any way. The blood is collected after the baby is born and the umbilical cord is clamped. The syringe comes nowhere close to your baby and blood is NOT drawn out while the baby is still attached to the umbilical cord. Your baby is being taken care of at another location while the umbilical cord blood is being collected for storage in a cord blood bank.
How much blood is required for this?
The cord blood banking representative and the doctors try to collect as much blood as possible from the umbilical cord. Studies show that larger quantities of stem cells are more helpful during transplants and the success rate is higher.
How many years can a baby's cord blood be saved?
Cord blood banking is a relatively new concept. Nevertheless, researchers claim that, if preserved carefully, the cord blood can be saved in a cord blood registry for at least 15 years with no reduction in the quality.
Will the parents have any role in the collection?
Yes, the collection kit will be given to you after the application for cord blood banking is accepted. You have to remember to carry it with you while you are going to the hospital for the delivery. Do not forget to inform the doctors and the cod blood bank before hand as you may not be in a condition to remind him/her during delivery or immediately after it!
What will happen if the mother has to undergo a caesarean?
The cord blood collection process is the same. The placenta is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and the cord blood is drained in the collection vials or bags.
Finally, if there is a complication in the delivery, there are chances that the doctors may decide to abandon the plan for umbilical cord blood collection for being stored in a cord blood bank.
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