An Introduction to Collecting Cord Blood Stem Cells
The practice of collecting cord blood stem cells as part of the birthing process is a procedure that has been in existence since the year 1988. During that year the first cord blood transplant was done, and since then, more than 8,000 transplants have taken place. Today, thousands of parents are using this once in a lifetime opportunity of collecting cord blood stem cells to be available later for possibly treating health problems.
Not until 1995, however was collecting cord blood stem cells made widely available. The cord blood is collected immediately after birth of the baby once the umbilical cord has been cut. The medical caregiver normally collects the specimen. This blood used to be discarded as medical waste. The procedure of collecting cord blood stem cells does not in any way alter normal birth-related procedures. The efficiency of collecting a cord blood stem cell sample is dependant on the amount of cord blood that is collected. The larger the stem cell sample amount that is collected, the better its survival rate of cells in transplant. It is possible to choose the collection method for cord blood by either the syringe or gravity blood bag.
So far, more than 25,000 doctors have been collecting cord blood stem cells in more than 3,000 hospitals and birth centers in the US and more than 72 foreign countries. The practice is rapidly increasing and a growing number of doctors and hospitals are using the procedure of collecting cord blood stem cells with advanced training and technological resources.
It is important to note, however, that there is no risk to the child or the mother when collecting cord blood stem cells, as this is done after the baby is born and after the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. This procedure is painless, safe and easy for both mother and baby, and there is no change whatever in the normal delivery process of the baby. The average amount of time required for collecting cord blood stem cells is about 5 minutes.
Once you have decided to collect and store your baby’s cord blood, a cord blood company must be chosen. The cord blood company will be responsible for providing the cord blood collection kit, assisting you in arranging for delivery of the specimen to their laboratory, processing and testing the cord blood specimen and ultimately cryogenically storing the specimen for your family.