Cord Blood

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The Misunderstood Option of Cord Blood Banking

Despite the benefits of using umbilical cord blood stem cells for transplant, the process also has some disadvantages. Today, more than 20 years after the first successful umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant, more families are seeking information about whether or not to invest in saving their newborn’s umbilical cord blood. Cord blood banking is not a routine procedure you have to choose and plan ahead of time, usually in second trimester of pregnancy. Collection of cord blood takes place right after birth using a specific kit that is ordered ahead of time from the chosen cord blood bank. As of 2013, Ohio only had 3 facilities for cord blood collection all in the Cleveland area. Because of the limited volume of cells collected from cord blood, the amount of stem cells in cord blood is approximately 10% less than the amount obtained from bone marrow (Moise). A single unit of umbilical cord blood usually contains 50 to 200 ml of blood (Gonzalez-Ryan). If an amount of cord blood is less than this minimum volume, the unit is discarded as being unsatisfactory because the cell dose of the sample would not be high enough. Collecting an insufficient volume of cord blood occurs in about 50% or more cases of cord blood collection (Drew). In general, fewer stem cells are needed for cord blood transplantation, and usually a volume of 50 to 100 ml of cord blood will provide enough of a cell dose for a child or small adult. However, should the recipient need additional stem cells, it is impossible to obtain an additional donation from the newborn baby (Percer). For stem cell transplants to be successful, measurable signs of engraftment must occur. Engraftment is the opposite of rejection and indicates that the stem cell transplant is “working.” Two measurable signs of engraftment are the recovery of both neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) and platelet (a clotting factor) production. These two signs of recovery

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