By Diane Forrest, RN
When a baby is born, the umbilical cord is still attached. The cord is then tied off, and the father or family member is given the opportunity to "cut the cord". Following this rite of passage, the cord along with the placenta is normally discarded as medical waste. Researchers and scientists have been testing the blood from the umbilical cord and have found it to be rich with stem cells. These stem cells can be used to treat blood and immune disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Medical research continues to investigate ground-breaking therapies using a child’s own cord blood stem cells as a possible treatment for diseases which currently have no cures like Type I diabetes, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy.
Mothers have the option to either store the stem cells for their child or other family members at a stem cell storage facility plant. They may also donate the stem cells for either research or to help another family in need, much like donating blood.
There is absolutely no risk at all to either the mother or the newborn infant. The cells are extracted after the cord has been detached from the infant, and after the placenta has been expelled by the mother.
This month is Cord Blood Awareness Month. If you, or someone you know is expecting, let them know about the options they have about storing or donating their cord blood for present or future needs.
For more information visit this site: http://parentsguidecordblood.org/