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Congratulations on your pregnancy! There is lots to think about and plenty of information being thrown at you. You may have already heard about cord blood banking but with lots of other planning going on, you might not know the ins and outs of what it actually is.
Fret not as this post is here to break down cord blood banking and the options you have.
Curious? Read on!
Why store cord blood?
When we talk about cord blood banking, it is as literal as it sounds. After your baby is born, the umbilical cord has been cut and the placenta delivered, a phlebotomist will collect the cord blood. It will all happen in a separate room and will not affect your birth plan.
You store the blood to collect and bank the powerful stem cells that it contains. These stem cells can be used to treat over 80 conditions worldwide including blood disorders, blood cancers and metabolic disorders.
There are a few options for banking cord blood. You can bank them publicly or privately. If you aren’t sure what to choose, let us break down the options for you.
This option does cost money as you need to pay for the treatment and storage of your samples however there are some good benefits to storing privately. You will be providing your baby with a lifelong safety net. Their whole life they will have access to their own stem cells should they need them.
Your child will always have access to a 100% genetic match should they ever need stem cells for treatment. The cord blood stem cells can also be used by siblings as they have a good chance of being at least a partial genetic match.
Donation or Public Banking
You and your family won’t have direct access to the stem cells, but you will make your cells available on to those on the donor list. To donate, you will need to talk to your doctor and midwife and ensure that your hospital is happy to carry out the process. There are only a handful of hospitals in the UK that are able to do the collection of cord blood.
You then need to give written or verbal consent to your midwife prior to the birth of your baby. After your baby is born, the cord cut and the placenta delivered – same as a collection for private storage – the placenta and remaining cord will be handed to the correct staff ready for storage.
Private storage or donation of cord blood simply saves a valuable resource that would otherwise be thrown away as medical waste. The choice, however, is entirely yours to make. If you would rather keep your placenta or plan on a lotus birth, would rather see if thrown out, or anything like that, you are in control. Research and planning are key.
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