Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells which have been used to treat over 80 different diseases. This blood can be stored and used in the future for your child, for other family members, and even for a stranger if you choose to donate it. Collection and donation of your baby’s cord blood to a public blood bank is free. If you wish to store your baby’s cord blood for your family’s use in a private blood bank, it will cost a collection fee as well as an annual fee. If your newborn has a sibling who has a disease which can be treated with a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, the newborn’s cord blood can be collected and stored as a sibling-directed donation for little or no cost.
The procedure for cord blood collection is fast and will have no effect on the delivery of your baby. In order for cord blood to be viable, it must be collected within the first fifteen minutes after birth. During birth, the cord is clamped and cut a few minutes after the baby is delivered. When the cord and placenta are separated from the baby and the cord has stopped pulsating, the blood can be drawn from the cord and placenta with a syringe.
About 75ml of blood is needed in cord blood collection in order for the blood to be used in a transplant. However, it is critical that the umbilical cord not be clamped too early during delivery, as the baby should receive as much blood as necessary to avoid anemia and other health complications. If there is not enough cord blood to be collected and also received by the baby, the cord will not be clamped earlier than it should be to save blood for collection. Your baby’s health will always take precedence over cord blood collection.
The umbilical cord and placenta are usually discarded after birth, but cord blood collection makes use of valuable cells used in treatment of many life threatening diseases. If you are interested in storing your baby’s cord blood or donating it for public use, talk to Dr. Ayalon about cord blood collection to learn more about your options.
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