5 Things to Know About Stem Cell/Cord Blood Banking

  • May 28, 2021

Written by
Dr Himani Gupta
Consulting Gynaecologist in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

-A baby’s umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells-the powerful cells that can produce different types of blood cells and have the potential to treat more than 80 medical conditions including blood and genetic disorders like cancers. 

-This has encouraged most parents to opt for stem cell banking and utilize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure their child’s long-term good health. 

The Collection Process

-So, what is stem cell banking after all? Here are 5 things about it that every parent should know. 

-It is a simple, one-time process. 

-The cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord after it is cut off soon after childbirth, thereby causing no pain or risk to the baby or the mother. 

-This blood is collected by the doctor, stored in a collection kit and handed over to a trained paramedic, making it an absolutely safe process.

Cord Blood Processing and Storage

-The collected sample is then processed in a lab. 

-Here, the stem cells are separated from red blood cells. 

-The viable stem cells are then sent for cold storage where they are stored in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures until required for treatment or future use. 

Private banking v/s Community banking

While banking your baby’s cord blood, you’ll come across two types of storage models

1) Private banking program

2) Community banking program

-Community stem cell banking is usually preferred over private banking as it offers a wide range of benefits, and often at the same cost. 

-In private banking, your child can use only their own stem cells when required. 

-However, for the treatment of the majority of blood disorders,  patients own stem cells are not useful and stem cells from a closely matched donor are required to treat the condition. 

-A major benefit of community banking is that the community members can access the matched units from the pool of shared stem cells. 

-This significantly increases the chances of finding a donor.  

Beneficiaries Covered

-The biggest beneficiary of stem cell banking is, of course, your baby. 

-However, when you opt for community stem cell banking, a baby’s immediate family including parents, siblings, and grandparents (paternal & maternal) are also covered as beneficiaries under the scheme. 

-So, if any of these family members ever require a cord blood transplant, then they can easily access the stem cell registry.

Financial Assistance

-Any medical transplant procedure can burn a huge hole in your pocket. 

-However, if you choose a reputable or trusted stem cell bank, you’ll be offered the benefit of financial assistance to cover the treatment costs, especially in the case of a community stem cell banking program. 

So, if you’re expecting a baby soon and still haven’t considered cord blood banking, then it’s the right time for you to decide. 

-Make sure you check and compare the benefits before you sign up for stem cell banking for your baby.  

After all, a decision that puts your baby and your family’s health first will always be a welcome one!

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