6. What are the advantages of cord blood?
- There is minimal risk involved in the collection of cord blood.
- Cord blood is much easier to collect and harvest without the risks of general anesthesia required to harvest bone marrow.
- Cord blood is readily available when needed (if collected and stored at birth).
- Cord blood is often more compatible when used in transplants, especially when it is used within the family, creating less chance of rejection.
- Cord blood has lower procurement costs compared with peripheral blood or bone marrow harvesting.
7. What types of applications for stem cells will be available in the future?
Increasing the number of stem cells available for therapeutic use may have multiple benefits, including:
- Availability of multiple doses of cells for transplantation from a single cord blood sample.
- Use of cord blood transplantation to treat adult patients.
- Use of cord blood transplantation for multiple disease indications.
8. Why do families choose to collect and store their baby's cord blood?
Most families bank their baby's cord blood because they want the comfort and confidence that comes with knowing that, should the need arise, they will be prepared. Still others are excited about the possibilities that science may provide in the future. Naturally, there are those who have an existing medical need, such as a history of disease or a family member who is sick with a condition treatable with cord blood stem cells.
More opportunities are being discovered every year but, since each case is different, there is no guarantee that a cord blood transplant will be an appropriate treatment therapy or that it will provide a cure.
9. When is the cord blood collected?
There is only one time that cord blood can be collected: at birth.
10. How is the cord blood collected?
The collection process is easy and painless, and does not interfere with the delivery or subsequent care for your newborn and yourself. After your baby is born but before the placenta is delivered, your obstetrician or midwife cleans a four- to eight-inch area of umbilical cord with antiseptic solution and inserts the blood bag needle into the umbilical vein. The blood flows into the bag by gravity, until it stops, after which the collection is complete. The blood bag is clamped, sealed and labeled. The collection typically takes two to four minutes. Two tubes of maternal blood are also drawn.