Cord blood banking – what is it? How does it work? You may have half a dozen questions about what cord blood banking entails but fret not we are here to clear up some queries and some misconceptions that you may come across.
Read on and find out more.
What is it?
Cord blood collection is the process by which the umbilical cord blood is collected and stored. Some companies will offer cord tissue and placental cell storage too under this umbrella term.
More specifically though this stem cell storage. Stem cells are amazing little things that can become other cells in the body (something no other cell can do) and they are also used in the treatment of over 80 medical conditions worldwide. Pretty brilliant right?
Will It interrupt my birth plan/labour?
Not at all. Cord blood collection is a non-invasive process. You will be assigned a phlebotomist who will take care of everything on the day and it will be done in a separate room.
You will be provided with a kit that you can put in your hospital bag to take with you. All you have to do on the day is either you or your birth partner to get in contact with the phlebotomist. They will meet you at the hospital and then wait in a different room while you labour. Once the umbilical cord is clamped and the placenta is delivered, your phlebotomist will take care of everything.
The only part to take note of is that you will need to give a small blood sample. But this will not interrupt the process. Everything should fit in with your birth plan and labour.
Can I still use delayed and optimal clamping?
Absolutely. As stated on the Cells4Life website cord blood collection is 100% compatible with delayed and optimal cord clamping. It may have an effect on the volume of blood collected but otherwise, if you have it in your birth plan you can go ahead.
Is it the same as a donation?
The simple answer is no. And here is why.
Donation services are available on the NHS. You can donate cord blood and the placenta after birth. These donations go into a public bank and can be accessed by people who are awaiting stem cell treatments. However, the downside is that it isn’t available in every hospital. You would need to think about it early and have a conversation with your midwives and doctors to plan it out. A lovely thing to do nonetheless.
Private storage costs money and can be fairly pricey. However, the benefit of this is that most hospitals will allow it and you can store your baby’s stem cells for your child to use in the future. Not only will it be a 100% match to your baby if they need them, but it will also be something stored away for the family. There is a good chance that your baby’s stem cells will be even a partial match to your immediate family.
Both options have their benefits.
Is it worth it?
This is entirely up to you. Much like anything during your pregnancy, gather some information, and talk to your health care professionals and even friends and family if you want. You will be providing your family with quite the safety net though, so it may be worth it in the end.
*This is a collaborative post