By Dr. Wise Young
When you go to the bank, you deposit money, right? Well, some “banks,” which are actually advanced scientific labs, will “bank” blood – umbilical cord blood. Women deposit their umbilical cord blood immediately after birth, and it’s available for use for any family member. Wow! Does that sound strange? To some, hiring a company to look over their stem cell-filled cord blood for the rest of their life is perfectly normal. More than that, it could be life-saving.
How It’s Done
When your baby is born, cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord. Only three to five ounces is collected from each cord. The amount is small enough to treat an ill child, but not enough to treat an adult. Still, multiple units of matched cord blood may be able to treat an adult.
Why It’s Done
Cord blood is collected so that, later on in life, blood diseases can be treated using the stem cells in the blood. Babies who need stem cell transplants can receive their own stem cells in a very usable format. For example, if a patient needs stem cells for cancer therapy or some other illness, rather than collecting it from bone marrow, the cord blood can be used.