The decision to either store or donate your baby’s cord blood is an important one. The potential benefits of storing your baby’s cord blood are very compelling. And, while it is true that you obviously can’t store the cord blood until after your delivery, it is important that you contact the cord blood bank as soon as you have made the decision to store your baby’s cord blood. While policies may vary from one cord blood bank to another, most cord blood banks would prefer that you contact them as soon as possible. If at all possible, you should try to contact the cord blood bank by the time you are in your 30th week of pregnancy, although much earlier than that is generally fine.
There are compelling reasons to contact a cord blood bank to store your baby’s cord blood. Because cord blood contains stem cells, which are the basic components of our blood as well as the foundational components of our immune system, cord blood is an extremely useful thing to have. Cord blood can be made to reproduce into red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body, white blood cells to fight off infection, or platelets, which help with blood clotting. By contacting a cord blood bank about storing the cord blood, you provide an excellent source of matching blood cells for your baby.
Cord blood banking is important, in that you may be able to help your child fight off certain types of cancer if you have contacted a cord blood bank. Right now, many types of cancer are often treated with chemotherapy or with radiation therapy. Often, these treatments negatively impact bone marrow and stem cells. These cells ar guaranteed to be a match to your child. Having these cells available means that you can avoid the long and all too often painful process that is involved in finding a match of public cells. In addition, for more than two thirds of patients, there are no donors that are a match to them in the public system of cord blood banks.
In some cases, having cord blood in a cord blood bank may help the rest of your family future as well. Your baby’s cord blood is very likely to match up with other close relatives, providing a potential source of stem cells for younger or older siblings.
More and more parents are choosing to contact cord blood banks to store their baby’s cord blood. As stem cell research continues to advance, there are other areas that having cord blood in a cord blood bank may be able to help your child in the future. Some of the areas that researchers are making progress in include heart disease, immune disorders, nerve or tissue regeneration, and even arthritis. While there is no guarantee that stem cells will cure any of these ailments, they may very well at least be able to be a part of treatment.
If you are interested in storing your baby’s cord blood in a cord blood bank, you should contact them as soon as possible, so that they can get the information to you that you will need well ahead of your due date.