A lot of people are talking about stem cells, and you should know that this really refers to the umbilical cord blood. When the babies are born there is a small amount of blood in the umbilical cord that could be stored. These cells can be used in the future to treat the baby or other family members.
Information about the blood of the umbilical cord
The diseases that could be treated with the help of this blood include lymphoma and leukemia. In the same time it could also be used to treat children if the doctors can’t find a donor for bone marrow transplant. All in all we can say that this blood could save the life of people, but some time ago it was considered to be waste.
What are the stem cells?
You should know about the cells of the blood of the umbilical cord that there are about 100 different cells of the human body that all have different functions. The majority of the cells are able to replicate to produce cells of the same kind. Nonetheless the stem cells are different.
Some specialists say that the cells of the umbilical cord blood are a kind of blank cells meaning that they could become any other kind of cell and they don’t die. This is why this blood is collected. The cells could become red blood cells or white blood cells, or even blood clotting cells.
In case the blood of the umbilical cord is saved, it could be transplanted into other people, saving their lives. The specialists are hoping that they will be able to treat diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, HIV, AIDS and burn victims. All this makes the stem cells even more important.
Is the process ethical?
There are some questions regarding the umbilical cord blood, whether it is ethical. The majority of the specialists agree that it is, but there is a debate regarding embryonic stem cells. These are collected from aborted fetuses or embryos developed in laboratories. The debate does not regard the other stem cells.
What could the blood of the umbilical cord be used for?
As it has been mentioned before, the cells can be used to treat a large number of bone, blood, immune system and genetic diseases. Such diseases include lymphoma, leukemia, adrenoleukodystrophy, sickle cell anemia, Krabbe’s disease, and osteoporosis.
Many of the procedures involving the umbilical cord blood are considered to be life saving. Some of them have been considered deadly before the specialists started working with stem cells. Sometimes the procedures can also be used to treat the diseases of adults.
In case you would like the blood of the umbilical cord of your baby to be collected, there are different ways to do so. The collection does not represent any risks to the baby and it doesn’t interfere with childbirth. Usually the process doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes and you will have to answer some questions regarding health.
Donation for public health
In the majority of the cases the umbilical cord blood is donated. Nonetheless there are some exceptions, such as the families with family history of immune system, genetic or blood disorders, women who have been taking medication during their pregnancy and couples with STIs.
It is up to you whether you donate the blood of the umbilical cord but keep in mind that by doing so you could save the life of another baby. In case you don’t donate it, it will be thrown away as waste.
This is why you should give good thought to donating the baby’s umbilical cord blood.