Parents-to-be often start thinking about their child’s health, safety, and happiness months before birth.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you prepare for this very exciting new phase in your life, you will definitely do anything to protect your little one and keep him healthy and happy after he is born.
This is why months before the birth of your baby, you child-proof your home and spend hours of research on the safest car seat, crib, and high chair.
Essentially, you will do all it takes to keep your child safe.
Now, some parents-to-be are choosing yet another procedure that they feel can keep their little ones safe and healthy for a lifetime — cord blood banking.
The collection of cord blood is neither harmful nor painful to your newborn or yourself. It is a very simple process that we will explain later in this article, and one that you can opt for whether you have a Caesarian section or vaginal birth.
You only get one chance to collect your baby’s cord blood at birth, so it is best to educate yourself about the process and its benefits. This way, you can make an informed decision about cord blood banking before you give birth.
We hope this article will help you in your cord blood banking decision-making process.
What is cord blood banking and cord lining banking?
The umbilical cord is the connecting lifeline between you and your baby. It connects your developing baby to your placenta, providing nutrients and removing waste.
Cord blood (or “placental blood”) is blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following the birth of a baby and after the umbilical cord is cut after delivery.
Cord blood banking is the process of storing this blood, which provides a rich source of stem cells should the need ever arise for a stem cell transplant. The stem cells in cord blood are known as haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and are primarily responsible for replenishing blood and regenerating the immune system.
Some parents also opt to store the lining of their baby’s umbilical cord. This lining contains other forms of stem cells called Mesenchymal stem cells and Epithelial stem cells, which play a big role in the “infrastructure” formation in the human body, for instance, the formation of skin or muscle.
Your precious newborn’s cord blood and lining have the potential to protect him for life.
Benefits of cord blood banking
- Should stem cells become urgently required for a transplant, having your child’s cord blood readily available will be of such critical importance, compared to going on a national or international search, both being costly and time-consuming. Consider this: the cost of procuring a cord blood sample in Singapore can cost up to $75,000—and that is, if a match is found. The odds of finding a match in the same racial group is around one in 20,000.
To read about more benefits of cord blood banking, please follow this link.
The blood within your baby’s umbilical cord has amazing healing powers.
Cord blood stem cells are life-saving
Cord blood stem cells are quite remarkable as they have the unique ability to transform into the following important cell types that are found in human blood:
- Red blood cells carry oxygen to all other cells in the body
- White blood cells are crucial in fighting infections
- Platelets help with blood clotting in the event of injury
This means that cord blood stem cells can be used to treat several types of blood cancers, replace and regenerate damaged or diseased bone marrow, and correct genetic disorders.
In comparison to other types of stem cells (e.g. bone marrow), cord blood stem cells are faster in generating healthy blood cells, making them more effective at treating a large number of diseases.
How a cord blood transplant works: Stem cells are added into a patient’s bloodstream where they are tasked to heal and repair damaged cells and tissue. With the successful engraftment of the stem cells, the patient’s blood and immune system is regenerated.
Currently, more than 80 diseases—including blood cancers such as leukemia, blood disorders such as thalassaemia, and tumours such as neuroblastoma—are treatable with cord blood stem cell transplant therapy. Studies show that at least 50% of childhood cancer incidences can similarly be treated.
According to research, one in every 217 persons may need stem cells for treatment in their lifetime. Since 1988, doctors around the world have used cord blood stem cells to treat more than 30,000 patients.
And because stem cell research is always evolving, the potential of effectively treating many more diseases using cord blood stem cells is real. For example, clinical trials are currently being conducted for the treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, and hearing loss.
The same applies for cord lining stem cells, which have the potential to treat burns and repair the lining of corneas, among others.
Cordlife can look after your cord blood and cord lining banking needs right here in Singapore.
Best practices and stringent protocols
Cordlife Group Limited is an internationally accredited family cord blood bank that adheres to best practices and follows stringent protocols through all stages of the collection, processing and storage of your baby’s precious cord blood.
It is also the longest operating cord blood bank in Singapore, with over 50,000 families entrusting their baby’s cord blood with them since 2001.
You can view their proven cord blood release track record by clicking this link.
From collection to storage: the Cordlife process
- Three tubes of your blood are collected when you are admitted to the hospital which will subsequently be used for infectious disease testing.
- Your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut.*
- Your medical caregiver inserts a needle into the umbilical cord to collect the remaining blood—this is a painless procedure. (If cord blood is not collected, this will usually be discarded as medical waste.)
- This blood is stored in Cordlife’s American Association of Blood Bank (AABB)-approved, heparin-free, sterile collection bags. Your medical caregiver then seals the bag, attaches the pre-printed labels containing your details, and places it in your personalised Cordlife collection kit.
- Should you also decide to collect the cord lining, the umbilical cord is cleaned and a segment is placed into the provided collection jar.
- After your baby is born, notify Cordlife of your delivery. A medical courier will pick up the collection kit from the hospital room and deliver it to the Cordlife laboratory for processing and storage in a cryogenic environment.
- You will be notified when your collection kit arrives at Cordlife’s laboratory. You will subsequently be informed of the storage status after tests are completed.
Should you want to find out more about storing your baby’s cord blood and lining with Cordlife, contact them via the information below:
E-mail: [email protected]
Customer Service Hotline: +65 6238 0808
You can also make an appointment with one of Cordlife’s friendly consultants today at this link, or download their FREE information pack.
*Please note that the final decision of whether the cord blood collection should take place will always reside with your caregiver whose first priority is the safety of you and your baby.
Parents-to-be, we hope you have found this article useful. Share with us in the comment box below: would you consider cord blood banking, and why?