While it was once treated as a medical waste product, umbilical cord blood is used in stem cell transplantation. After having the first successful cord blood transplantation, many families are today considering banking their newborn’s umbilical cord blood. An expectant family should get sufficient, unbiased information when they want to know whether or not, it is viable to do cord blood banking. Making an informed decision can mean a lot for the family should a family member need treatment using cord blood stem cells. Preserving cord blood within public banks is considered a viable thing, however, if a family has a relative who has a known disorder that could be treated by use of stem cell transplants, it would be best if they consider private cord blood banking.
Umbilical Cord Blood Pros
There are many advantages of cord blood stem cells compared to bone marrow stem cells in transplants. It is easy to collect and process cord blood. When collecting the cord blood, there is no risk put to the mother or baby. It is considered pretty a safe procedure. Once collected, it is packed and transported to an appropriate storage facility where it is available for use. A patient needing the stem cells from a match unit can easily access it within days or weeks after the processing. In the case of bone marrow stem cells, it may take longer for the patient to be able to find a match, get the sample, and process it. With bone marrow stem cells transplants, they can take much time, usually from weeks to months or even more.
First, a willing donor has to be found and he accepts that he or she will donate the bone marrow cells. After that the stem cells have to be extracted from the individual’s bone marrow meaning that a surgery procedure is performed. This can put the individual at risk like any other surgery procedure. With cord blood banking, the collection process is not painful to the child or the mother and it can be performed before or after delivery of placenta. When having bone marrow transplants, the donor has to be taken to the hospital, put on anesthesia, and undergoes the procedure of collection. Often, there is pain that is associated with the postcollection period. Also, compared to umbilical cord blood collection, bone marrow collection tends to be more costly.
So, summarizing the pros of umbilical cord blood, we would say that it is:1
- Easier to collect than bone marrow
- It does not put the baby or mother at risk
- It takes less time to process, so it is available much quicker for use
- Less costly to collect cord blood than collecting bone marrow
- There are few risks of transmission of infections
- There is less need to have stringent antigen typing
- There are fewer chances of rejection
- Umbilical Cord Blood: Information for Childbirth Educators. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3209739/
- Advantages And Disadvantages: Cord Blood Banking. https://medium.com/@rkrish/advantages-and-disadvantages-cord-blood-banking-a00bbe876cec
- Disadvantages of Cord Blood Banking. http://www.epigee.org/disadvantages-with-cord-blood-banking.html
- Collection and Preservation of Cord Blood for Personal Use. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1083879107005745