Jun 24, 2009
Umbilical cord blood, which is typically discarded after birth, contains a large amount of blood stem cells. In recent years, cord blood stem cells have been successfully used in the treatment of certain cancers, bone marrow failure, hemoglobinopathies (i.e. sickle cell disease), immune diseases, and/or genetic metabolic conditions. Although the number of diseases treatable by cord blood transplantation will likely increase in the future, it is important to note that cord blood stem cells cannot be used in the treatment of many diseases.
Due to the potential benefits, some individuals choose to have their baby's cord blood collected, processed, frozen and stored - otherwise known as cord blood banking. There are two types of cord blood banking: private cord blood banking and public cord blood banking.
- Private cord blood banking involves storing a baby's cord blood for his/her own future use or for use by a family member if needed.
- Public cord blood banking (also called cord blood donating) involves donating a baby's cord blood so that it is available to anyone in need of a transplant and/or may be used for quality improvement or research purposes. Donated cord blood most likely cannot be retrieved for personal purposes.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) policy statement, "Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation," the AAP encourages public cord blood donation for use by other individuals in need (if banks are available in the area). Private cord blood banking for later personal or family use as a general "insurance policy" is discouraged by the AAP, as the chance of a child needing his/her own cord blood stem cells in the future ranges from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 200,000.
For more information about Cord Blood Banking, visit http://AccessDNA.com/condition/Cord_Blood_Banking/763