Umbilical cord blood is the blood collected from the umbilical cord immediately following the birth of a child. This blood provided nourishment for the baby during pregnancy, but once the baby is delivered, umbilical cord blood is no longer necessary.
Umbilical cord blood is rich in multipotent hematopoietic "stem cells" (or blood stem cells). These cord blood stem cells produce the cellular ingredients necessary for the blood and the immune system. When the umbilical cord blood cells are transplanted into patients, they can help restore the immune and blood systems to help fight diseases and replace diseased blood.
Collecting your child's umbilical cord blood and saving it in a cord blood bank provides you with insurance in case your child develops any of the illnesses where cord blood is used in treatment.
Stem cells, until recently, it was assumed that these hematopoietic stem cells, obtained from cord blood, could only be used as building blocks for blood cells. These stem cells were thought to be useful only in treating blood diseases. If you look closely at the list of current treatments for which hematopoietic stem cells are used, all of them are diseases of the blood.
Watch the cord blood banking video to get answers to your questions.
Cord Blood: Will my child need it?
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