While you are pregnant, one of the most important tasks for you and your family is to plan and safeguard your baby’s future! This requires a lot of groundwork and planning for the baby-on-the-way. Health conscious and aware parents are considering cord blood stem cell preservation to be an integral part of their baby plan.
What is Umbilical Cord?
The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Up until recently this afterbirth umbilical cord was discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies.
What are cord blood stem cells?
The blood in the umbilical cord and placenta is rich in stem cells. The stem cells in cord blood can grow into the blood and immune system cells, as well as other types of cells.
One of the most important decisions to be taken is – Which is the best umbilical cord blood bank for my baby?
Here are a few questions that you must ask the cord blood bank and choose the best cord blood bank for your baby.
Let’s take it step by step based on the following parameters –
- Are there any specific accreditations I should look for when selecting a cord blood bank?
To decide on a cord blood bank, you’ll want to look at a number of factors which will define cell processing and lab practices: Cord blood banks should comply with national accreditation standards developed by national regulatory bodies such as ISO, FDA, GMP, GCP and GLP. Cord blood banks who have attained these gold standards have a systematic, hygienic, temperature controlled and regulated lab for extraction and preservation.
- When and how is cord blood collected?
Umbilical cord blood is harvested quickly and painlessly just a few minutes after the birth of the baby— after the cord has been clamped, on both sides, and cut (either before or after the delivery of the placenta). The blood is collected either by drawing the blood from the umbilical cord with a needle and a “gravity bag” to drain and collect the blood.
- What questions should parents ask about Collection?
It is necessary to know if the cord blood bank takes care of the collection of cord blood at the time of birth and the cost of shipping the cord blood to the preservation facility is included in the contract/agreement. It is also important to ask about paramedic or collection experts’ availability on weekends and wee hours.
- How does the cord blood bank manage shipping at the time of preservation and retrieval?
Most cord blood banks assure free global shipment at the time of retrieval, but it also important to understand the shipping criteria during transportation of the specimen from birthing centre to the cryopreservation facility. You may also want to ask the cord blood bank to guarantee to transport the specimen to the lab and processed within a certain time window. It is mandatory that the cryo-shipping container has a temperature logger.
- Is CFU really important, should we as parents care about it?
The answer is simple, it’s a big Yes. At present Colony Forming Units or CFU are considered to be the only and the best measure of whether stem cells are “viable”, or quite frankly if the cells are alive. The Total Nucleated Cell count includes both living and dead cells. In the CFU test, a small portion is watched under controlled conditions to see if cord blood stem cells divide and form colonies. It is a standardized technology to image the cells and count colonies in the image. It is advised by experts to take the CFU test before preservation as the test takes a lot of days for colonies to grow rather than wasting time at that time of retrieval or transplant to perform the test.
We hope this helps you to ask the right questions and thereby make your decisions about preserving your baby’s stem cells with the right bank!
For more information you may check: parentsguidecordblood.org/ and http://www.babycell.in/
Babycell has a panel of cord blood banking and stem cell transplants experts. To address your queries on stem cell banking you may call 1800 209 0309