July is Cord Blood Awareness Month

ADC Ob/Gyn Kiran Mechineni, MD shares the advantages of cord blood banking at the time of delivery with KXANs Erin Cargile.

It’s a once in lifetime opportunity that many parents may not know about.  July is Cord Blood Awareness Month and a great time to learn more about this possible life-saving procedure.

What is cord blood?

Cord blood is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth.  Parents have the opportunity at that time to have their infant’s cord blood banked.  If not, the cord blood is discarded.  Dr. Mechineni, says parents who know about this option often say “yes” because of the medical advantages for their child and possibly other family members in the future.

Parents often make this decision for when putting together their delivery plan at 28-32 weeks. However, if the delivery occurs in a hospital that offers cord banking, then the decision may be made at the time of delivery as well.

How is it used?

Rich in nutrients and stem cells, cord blood can be used for transplants and even as an alternative to bone marrow.  It is important to know that the cord blood stem cells are not the same as embryonic stem cells.  Stems cells harvested from cord blood may also be used for medical therapies for blood disorders, cancers and genetic and metabolic disorders.  There are currently trials for use for individuals with autism and type 1 diabetes.  Experimental trials for those with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain damage are also being conducted.

What is the difference between private and public cord banking?

According to Dr. Mechineni, privately banked cord blood may be used by the child, their siblings or any genetically related family member.  Their is a cost associated with private banking and a specific kit will be available at the time of birth.  Donated cord blood to public banks may be used by anyone with genetic match.  This option is free.

For more information about cord blood banking, select one of the resources below.