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The Importance of Umbilical Cord Blood

June 30, 2015

July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month. Umbilical cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and the umbilical cord following birth. Today, stem cells are mainly used in the treatment of disease and in tissue regeneration. They typically come from three sources, one being cord blood. Cord blood stem cells are found in the blood of the umbilical cord, and can only be harvested and stored at birth. With their instant availability and proven usefulness, cord blood is quickly becoming a well-known source of stem cells.

After a child is born and the umbilical cord is cut, the blood left in the umbilical cord can be collected and saved. The stem cells are then removed and stored for future use in medical application. The collection of the cord blood will not change the birthing process in any way, and it is completely safe. As of today, there are nearly 80 health conditions that can be treated with cord blood, and experimental treatments using cord blood for cerebral palsy and Type 1 diabetes are ongoing. They are extremely important and useful because they can renew themselves and become specializing stem cells to help repair or a replace a patient's damaged or diseased cells. For a fee, private cord banks will store your baby's cord blood stem cells exclusively for your family. If a medical need arises, you would have immediate access to those cord blood stem cells. You can also choose to donate your baby's cord blood to a public bank. This decision may potentially save the life of someone, world-wide, who has a life-threatening disease, and is in need of a life-saving transplant.

Raising awareness of cord blood importance is essential. Educating others on the value of cord blood stem cells may help keep this valuable resource from being thrown away as medical waste, and help shed light on cord blood's stem cells life-saving potential. Most doctors support saving umbilical cord blood because of the promise that stem cell research holds. The study into using them to treat diseases is constant, and the future looks promising.

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