Umbilical Cord blood is human blood taken from the placenta and umbilical cord. Cord blood is collected after the umbilical cord has been detached from the newborn.
The main factor to consider in deciding if you want to bank your newborn's cord blood is whether or not you have a child or close relative with a family history of diseases that can be treated with bone marrow transplants. Since the chances that the average person without medical risk factors will ever use his or her own banked cord blood is very low, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend cord-blood banking for families who do not have a history of disease.
With the recognition that cord blood is a source of stem cells, both private and public cord blood banks developed. According to the AAP, private storage of cord blood as 'biological insurance' is unwise.
However, it is important to note that private cord blood banking is controversial and is opposed by some of the medical community including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the European Group on Ethics. Other doctors, given what they view as the promise that stem-cell research holds for the future, support saving umbilical cord blood.
For more information regarding blood-forming stem cells, how they are collected, how long blood-forming stem cells can be stored, problems associated with public cord-blood banking, how to donate your baby's cord blood, and more, visit the websites listed at the bottom of this page.
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