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What is Cord Blood and Cord Blood Banking?
The term "cord blood" is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Up until recently this afterbirth was discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies.
What are cord blood stem cells?
The blood in the umbilical cord and placenta is rich in stem cells. These are different from both the embryonic stem cells in a fertilized egg or the stem cells obtained from the tissues of a child or an adult. The stem cells in cord blood can grow into blood and immune system cells, as well as other types of cells.
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking includes the whole process from collecting the blood in your newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta to storage for future medical purposes. If needed for treatment, the cord blood bank will release the stem cells to your physician.
It’s up to you to decide what kind of cord blood storage – public or private (family) - to choose:
- If you decide to donate your baby's cord blood to a public cord blood bank it will be stored for free and anyone who needs it can get it. But remember that in this case you can’t reserve it for future use of your family members.
- Private cord blood banks will take your baby's cord blood for storage after payment and in this way only your family members can use it.
You can check if you have opportunities for cord blood banking by choosing your country below: