Are You Cord Blood Aware?
Cord blood is the body’s richest source of stem cells and it is also the body’s least invasive source of stem cells. The stem cells in cord blood are extremely special because they have yet to be exposed to the elements that the stem cells from an older person would have been. Being cord blood aware can enable you to make the right choice for your family when considering cord blood storage.
When cord blood is banked at birth it is taken away and frozen, ready and waiting to be accessed for treatment should the need ever arise. When you bank your baby’s cord blood with a family bank your baby has a perfect stem cell match ready and waiting for them, no need to search the register for a suitable match. When you donate your baby’s cord blood to a community bank you are giving someone in need a greater chance of finding a stem cell match and finding a match more quickly.
Cord Blood Aware and HLA Matching
HLA matching protocol, the process which is used to find a match between a patient and donor, requires a minimum match of 5/6 criteria for bone marrow and only 4/6 for cord blood which makes cord blood more likely to be matched to a patient in need. As cord blood which is donated is already in storage waiting to be dispatched, it can be with a patient in need in as little as 3 weeks. Bone marrow can take longer (on average 6 weeks) this can be due to various factors; donors don’t always keep their contact details up to date meaning some can be difficult to track in the event that they are matched to a patient, donors can become ineligible to donate, donors also have to fit donation in with their life which can mean arranging time off work to donate. These issues aside, cord blood is often the preferred choice for transplant as it grafts to the patient more easily than bone marrow resulting in fewer complications from graft vs. host disease.
Become More Cord Blood Aware
Storing your baby’s cord blood is incredibly easy to do. If you choose to store with a family bank, you can do so at almost any UK hospital and even store if you give birth at home, all you need to do is make arrangements early in pregnancy. If you choose to donate you will need to give birth in a hospital which accepts umbilical cord blood donations and make arrangements early in pregnancy. The process itself is easy, painless, and completely safe; it shouldn’t affect your birth experience at all.
You can become more cord blood aware and find out more about which cord blood banking option could be right for you and find out more about the differences between family and community banking on the “Types Of Bank” and “Choosing A Bank” pages of our website.