Umbilical blood is present in the cord that connects the mother and her baby. Umbilical blood has a great significance and medical value as it contains stem cells. This blood can treat many life-threatening genetic disorders.
There are immature blood-forming cells in the umbilical cord blood. This feature makes it an alternative to bone marrow for patients who cannot find any matched bone marrow donor.
Child’s growth while in the mother’s womb requires oxygen and nourishment. Many essential substances get passed from the mother’s blood to the child’s blood through umbilical cord. Surprisingly, this life-saving blood belongs to the child and not the mother.
Life threatening diseases such as leukemia, anemia/anaemia and other forms of cancers can be treated with the help of umbilical cord blood.
Donating the cord blood is not only painless, it is also fully safe. There are well laid guidelines for ensuring good health and safety of recipients and donors.
Donating this blood will not harm the baby or the mother in any way possible. This painless procedure will not change the process of birth.
Right after the baby is born, umbilical cord is clamped and cut. About 100 to 140ml of blood is collected from the cord and placenta. This life saving blood is collected in a bag and sent for examination. In case the blood does not contain significant amount of blood-forming cells, it is not stored and cannot be used for transplant. This blood however does not go to waste, as it can be used for valuable research in the lab. The entire thing only takes about five minutes.
Note: This procedure is not carried out without consent of the mother.
Donation of cord blood needs some advance preparation. In you 33rd week of pregnancy, you should contact the blood bank of your hospital or you can just tell your doctor about it. Donating umbilical cord blood will not affect your baby or you in any way. Doctors will examine your full medical history to make sure you qualify for the donation. This procedure is carried out in expert supervision and hardly includes any complications. Your donation can save lives of people in the rare and unfortunate situations.