July is cord blood awareness month and in my last article I detailed what cord blood is and how it can benefit a newborn child to delay the clamping and detachment of their umbilical cord at birth because it carries nutrient-dense blood from the parent to the child during pregnancy and immediately after birth.
This life supporting liquid flows from the parent to the child via the placenta and delivers a valuable infusion of blood and cellular components that can greatly assist new souls in coping with their transition to life outside of their parent.
Whether a parent chooses to delay cord clamping or not the cord blood can be collected shortly after birth by a member of your birthing team. The process takes 10 minutes or less and includes clamping and cutting the umbilical cord then utilizing a needle that has a bag attached to draw out the blood that remains within the cord and placenta. The collected blood can then be “banked” for later medical use.
Cord blood is frozen and stored in private or public blood bank locations in order to collect hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells can be transplanted into patients that are biologically related to the donor or they may be members of the community that are not biologically related but are experiencing sickle cell disorders, immune deficiencies, metabolic diseases, or certain types of cancers. Parents have the option of banking their newborn’s cord blood with a public or a private cord blood bank once it’s collected.
The benefit is that banking with a public cord blood bank is free and one can register with the cord bank as early as 34 weeks to schedule their donation. With private cord blood banking, there are fees but you own the cells so they are available for immediate use when needed.
Families should consider the financial investment associated with either option to determine if public or private cord blood banking is right for them as well as determining if there is a family history of illnesses that may be treated by stem cell therapy. This type of treatment may be preferable for members of nonwhite communities due to the cell's easy ability to integrate with the recipient’s body; however the cost of treatment may present a barrier. Speak with your care provider if you have more questions or concerns about the benefits of cord blood banking.
Video content: animated informational demonstration of cord blood collection. Gendered language is included. I am not promoting the use of any particular organization. I am not advocating for or against cord blood banking.
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Full Spectrum Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides whole person wellness education along with a full spectrum of support for all birthing outcomes. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy release. If you or someone you love are interested in support let's connect! I look forward to meeting you!