Cord blood contains the amazing stem cells…
Cord blood is the blood contained in the newborn child’s umbilical cord. This blood contains stem cells which can be used to treat major illnesses which the child may face when he or she grows up. Even the child’s siblings and other family members can similarly benefit from these stem cells when such illnesses strike.
Stem cells are currently being used to treat Leukemia, Thalassemia, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, Hunter's syndrome, Neuroblastoma, Sickle-cell disease and a range of cancers. In future stem cells may even find application in treatments of Heart disease, Alzhemer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson's disease and Diabetes.
Bone marrow is another source for stem cells, but with cord blood stem cells 4/6 match is sufficient, whereas a 6/6 match is required for bone marrow stem cells. This may not be such an issue with cord blood for use by the child and her family. However, this matters in public stem banks where cord blood donated by parents is meant for use by general public subject to matching.
How do parents arrange to get their child’s cord blood banked?
Listed below in Resources are the cryogenic cord blood banks operating in India. Most of them cover cities and major towns in the country either directly or through franchisees. You can choose one of them based on cost quoted and after ensuring that the hospital (where child-birth will take place) allows the selected cord blood bank to collect the cord blood. Some hospitals have exclusive tie-ups with one or more cord blood banks.
If you are pregnant, register with one of the companies at least a month before your due date. Close to the due date, the cord blood bank will send a sterile collection kit to the hospital. Immediately after birth, the Doctor or nurse will cut the umbilical cord, clamp it on one side and draw the blood by inserting a needle in the umbilical vein. Cord blood collection can be done both in normal deliveries and in caesarian deliveries. The cryogenic cord blood bank collects the blood from the hospital, assigns an ID, separates the stem cells from the blood and stores the same in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Centigrade.