We chose to bank our twin’s umbilical cord blood. I am amazed that saving some blood from the birth process could some day, not only save my child’s life, but could also prevent a fellow family member from having to go through the bone marrow donation process. I understand that banking cord blood is a great cost. Did you know you can register for it? You can actually ask friends and family to donate money towards the initial cost so that it is more affordable. Anyways, I wanted to talk a little about cord blood banking so that you might seriously consider it when it comes to your own kids.

Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells. Stem cells are cells that haven’t differentiated or “decided what to be when they grow up”. Why is that so important? Stem cells can potentially grow into any cell that the body needs them to be. When they are in a fetus, stem cells somehow know that a certain number need to be liver cells, skin cells, brain cells and so on. That is why scientist are so excited to study them and find out how to make them in to a certain type of cell. Right now stem cells from cord blood can help patients with sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and other illnesses. What will scientists learn about their uses in our lifetime?

When I was working as a labor and delivery nurse I often wondered why someone didn’t save all that cord blood. What if there was a program that collected cord blood from hospitals? There could be some kind of standard release form that parents could sign if they weren’t going to bank their child’s umbilical cord blood themselves. Then, those that couldn’t afford to bank their child’s cord blood might still have hope that someday, if their child – or anyone – was in need of a bone marrow transplant, there would be a bank of cord blood waiting, just like there is blood waiting for all of us in an emergency. Maybe I should contact blood banks and talk to a manager…. 😉

Ah…. the dreams a nurse has for the future where everyone has the chance for a cure.

Links to some major umbilical cord blood banks;

Cord Blood Registry


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