May 20 - What is Umbilical Cord Blood and Why You Should Save It

Umbilical cord blood can be vital for treatment later in life, but what exactly is it? This article is going to look at the importance of newborn umbilical cord blood, exactly what it is, and why you should save it.

Why the umbilical cord?

The birth of a newborn is a great moment, and one that is often greatly anticipated. When the umbilical cord is cut, there is still a certain amount of blood within the cord and the placenta. This blood is rich in stem cells that are unique to each baby and can be used in treatments and therapies later in life to help treat conditions and diseases such as cancer and cerebral palsy.

What are stem cells?

The stem cells in cord blood are called progenitor cells and this is because they can form red or white blood cells or even platelets which is ideal when treating immune system disorders or blood conditions.

Not only can stem cells develop into different types of blood cells, they can also develop and grow into other types of cells that can help to repair damage and promote new growth.

The benefits of umbilical cord blood

Whilst umbilical cord stem cells can be used to create cells for the heart, they can also help to create cells for bone, muscle, cartilage and fat.

Current research is looking at how stem cells can be used to help repair damage caused by cardiac arrest. Clinics in the US are looking to introduce stem cells to improve angina and repair damaged heart muscles after an attack.

Leukaemia, various types of cancer and Type 1 diabetes are other conditions that have benefited from the intervention of stem cells.

The list of conditions and diseases that are benefiting from this type of treatment is continually growing due to the discoveries of treatments and therapies. And the awareness of this type of treatment is also growing, ensuring that the general public is realising the benefits of saving the umbilical cord blood and the impact that this can have in the future.

Currently there are over 80 conditions that are not only considered to be life threatening but are also receiving some form of stem cell therapy or treatment.

And with ongoing research, the number of treatments is always increasing. In fact, there have been over 35,000 transplants across the globe, with many providing very promising results.

Are there other benefits?

Of course, we haven’t covered all the benefits of stem cell research and treatments but one of the most significant benefits is the ability for these types of cells to be used in a variety of scenarios. Compared to stem cells taken from adult donors, cord blood stem cells are less likely to be rejected by the body when used in a transplant, meaning that this type of treatment is incredibly versatile and can treat a wider range of patients.

Why should you save the umbilical cord blood?

As mentioned above, the impact stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood can have on treatments and therapies is revolutionary within the medical industry. Not only could these types of cells be used for wider treatment, there is a risk that your child will require their own cord blood stem cells later in life.