From time immemorial, umbilical cord blood has been regarded as a waste product that has been discarded along with the placenta.
What is Cord Blood ( Umbilical Cord Blood)
Cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood is collected because it contains stem cells, which can be used to treat hematopoietic and genetic disorders such as cancer.
Stem cells from umbilical cord blood also offers several distinct advantages over bone marrow or peripheral stem cells; hence the need to bank it.
Components of the Umbilical Cord Blood
Cord blood is composed of all the elements found in whole blood – red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets. Compared to whole blood some differences in the blood composition exist, for example, cord blood contains higher numbers of natural killer cells, lower absolute number of T-cells and a higher proportion of immature T-cells.
Medical uses/Importance of Cord Blood(Umbilical Cord Blood of a baby)
- Cord blood is used the same way that hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is used to reconstitute bone marrow following radiation treatment for various blood cancers, and for various forms of anemia. Its efficacy is similar as well
- They can treat some immune system disorders, which disrupt your body’s ability to defend itself.
- The fluid is easy to collect and has 10 times more stem cells than those collected from bone marrow.
- Stem cells from cord blood rarely carry any infectious diseases and are half as likely to be rejected as adult stem cells
Despite the important to human, the Cord blood also has some disadvantages or negative impacts on health. The cord blood is disadvantaged in that the volume collected is fixed and relatively small; engraftment takes longer time and there may be transmission of the rare genetic diseases of the blood or immune system etc. Issues confronting intending institutions are: the policies, ethical issues and the challenges faced
About Cord Blood Banking
After cord blood is collected, it is frozen and can be safely stored for many years. “The method of freezing, called ‘cryopreservation,’ is very important to maintain the integrity of the cells. “Cord blood needs to be stored carefully.”
You may choose to store your baby’s cord blood in a private bank so it can be available if needed in the future by your child or first- or second-degree relatives. Private cord banks typically charge fees for blood collection and storage.
Or you may donate the cord blood to a public bank so that doctors can use for a patient who needs a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
FDA regulates cord blood in different ways, depending on the source, level of processing and intended use.
Cord blood stored for personal use, for use in first- or second-degree relatives, and that also meets other criteria in FDA’s regulations, does not require the agency’s approval before use. Private cord banks must still comply with other FDA requirements, including establishment registration and listing, current good tissue practice regulations, and donor screening and testing for infectious diseases (except when cord blood is used for the original donor). These FDA requirements ensure safety of these products by minimizing the risk of contamination and transmission of infectious diseases.
Cord blood stored for use by a patient unrelated to the donor meets the legal definitions of both a “drug” and a “biological product.” Cord blood in this category must meet additional requirements and be licensed under a biologics license application, or be the subject of an investigational new drug application before use. The FDA requirements help to ensure that these products are safe and effective for their intended use.
Why parents should save their baby’s cord blood — and give it away
The blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born has special cells in it that can treat and even cure some serious diseases. The blood can be collected and stored — and that’s what many private cord blood banking companies encourage parents to do, in case their child (or someone else in the family) develops one of those diseases in the future.
The American Academy of Pediatrics wants parents to collect that cord blood. But instead of keeping it for themselves, they would like them to give it away to a public cord blood bank.
Cord blood contains cells called hematopoietic stem cells. These cells can turn into any kind of blood cell and can be used for transplants that can cure diseases such as blood disorders, immune deficiencies, metabolic diseases, and some kinds of cancers. Research is revealing more and more ways it can save lives. It is precious — almost magical — and absolutely worth keeping. Doing so is completely safe for the baby, and doesn’t affect labor or delivery.\
The diseases that cord blood treats are not very common, so the chances of any given child developing them are low — but worldwide they affect millions of children. That’s why public blood banks are used 30 times more often than private ones. If a family has a known genetic problem that puts them at risk of developing an illness that could be treated with cord blood, then it makes sense to keep it for family use. But if that’s not the case, it makes more sense to donate it, because it’s much more likely to be needed by another family than by the baby’s family.
Giving to a public blood bank is free, but banking through a private bank costs money: $1,000 to $2,000 initially, and then a yearly fee of $100 to $200. That’s a lot of money, which means that most families who end up needing cord blood don’t have a personal supply banked for them. Private cord blood banks also don’t have to meet the same accreditation standards as public ones, which means that the cord blood may end up being less useful if it’s needed.
It is only recently that we realized how precious cord blood is; before then, we threw it out. We still throw it out heartbreakingly often. There is some advanced planning involved to collect it, which is why we need to get the word out to everyone who is or might be an expectant parent, or anyone who might know an expectant parent and can tell them about cord blood donation.
When you donate cord blood you donate something that you are unlikely to need and that could cure a disease and save a life. That’s pretty amazing.
Prospects and challenges of implementing Cord blood banking
- Maternal factors
- Religious and traditional beliefs of Nigerians
- Shortage of medically trained personnel
- Poor funding of the health sector
- Erratic power supply
- Inadequate facilities
- Lack of awareness of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
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