Becoming a new parent comes with so many important choices. From creating a nursery to choosing your baby’s doctor, new parents only want to make the best decisions possible for their babies.

If you’re getting ready to have a baby, here’s one more important thing to consider: cord blood banking. This involves collecting the blood from the umbilical cord and either donating it to a cord blood bank or storing it in a private facility for your child’s future needs. Banking your cord blood can offer many benefits for you, your family, or others. Here’s what you should know about cord blood banking before giving birth.

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood is the blood contained in the umbilical cord. This blood is rich in stem cells, which are able to grow into many different types of body tissues, organs, and blood vessels. Stem cells derived from cord blood are used to treat many different diseases and are currently undergoing clinical trials to test for their potential use in the treatment of autism and brain injuries. It’s possible to collect the blood from the umbilical cord when your baby is born and place it in storage for your own use or for the use of others.

What is Cord Blood Banking?

When you choose to bank your cord blood, you’re choosing to store that blood. The blood inside of the umbilical cord and the placenta is collected by your doctor. Then, you choose where you’d like it stored. There are public and private blood cord banks. Public cord banks accept donations of cord blood that’s used to treat others. Private cord blood banks allow you to collect and store your baby’s cord blood so your loved ones can use it if it is needed.

The cord blood is immediately collected right after birth, and it is a painless procedure. After your baby is born, doctors will clamp the cord and cut it. After clamping and cutting the cord, the doctor will then collect the blood from the umbilical cord by inserting a needle and collecting the blood from the vein on the cord that remains attached to the placenta. After it’s collected, the cord blood will then be sent for processing. After it’s checked to make certain it meets quality standards, the cord blood will then undergo controlled freezing.

What Are the Benefits of Cord Blood Banking?

Stem cells are invaluable because they can turn into any type of tissue in the body. Because of their ability to differentiate into different tissues, stem cells can be used to repair damaged blood vessels, tissues, and organs. The stem cells found in cord blood are not mature, which makes them good to use in transplants. These cells do not attack foreign substances, so they’re less likely to reject transfusions.

Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat many different diseases, including leukemia, aplastic anemia, Hodgkin’s disease, sickle cell anemia, immune deficiencies, and thalassemia. They can also be used to treat metabolic disorders such as Krabbe’s disease that would otherwise cause infants to die.

If you bank your baby’s cord blood in a private bank, the stem cells will be available if anyone in your family develops a disease or condition that can be treated with them. While it’s normally best to be treated with your own cells, this is not true if the stem cells are being used to treat your own genetic disorder. This is because stem cells that come from your own body likely have the same genetic error as the other cells in your body, meaning receiving your own stem cells would be similar to injecting disease-containing cells into your body.

If you donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank, it will be donated to whichever bank collects it from the hospital where your baby is delivered. Donated cord blood may be used to treat other patients or for research. Researchers may also use the donated cord blood to treat patients who are undergoing clinical trials. Donations contribute to medical research while also helping others.

Cord blood banking can help your family greatly, and if you donate to a public cord blood bank, you’ll be helping others by offering a potentially life-saving treatment. Since the collection process is quick and painless, it makes sense to bank your baby’s cord blood for your own family or to donate it to help others. To learn more about cord blood banking and its benefits, you should research the topic online and talk to your doctor about your options.

Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.