Perhaps you’ve heard about umbilical blood banking, and maybe you’re even considering it for your newborn. This special type of tissue can be collected, frozen, and saved for future stem cell transplants. Children with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, and even type 1 diabetes are being treated with stem cells transplanted from umbilical cord blood.

Before you can donate or save umbilical blood, you need to know how the process works. Here’s more information about the process of umbilical cord blood collection, step by step:

  1. First, get a collection kit from the private cord blood banking facility or public donation bank. You need to obtain this kit before delivery and take it with you to the hospital when you go into labor or when you’re scheduled for a cesarean section.
  2. Vaginal delivery: Once you’ve delivered your baby, a physician or member of the nursing staff will clamp the umbilical cord on both sides and make a cut. Then he or she will release one side of the clamp while putting some needles vein. This process allows the healthcare professional to collect the stem cell-rich umbilical blood. Because the placenta, the tissue that nourished your baby in the womb, is also rich with stem cells, the healthcare professional will put needles in the placenta to collect the placental cord blood, too.
  3. Cesarean delivery: Once your baby is delivered and the surgeon has sewn up your incision, a health care professional will go through the same process to collect your umbilical blood and placental cord blood. Most times, less blood is collected during a C-section than in a vaginal delivery.
  4. Once the umbilical blood is collected, it’s placed into tubes or syringes, packed in dry ice or other product to keep it cold, and taken by courier to the storage facility, where it’s permanently packed in liquid nitrogen. Now your umbilical blood sample can be stored for years or even decades. Before it’s used for future stem cell transplants, it will be thawed before surgery.

Courtesy by: Esther Rose