At the moment I am pregnant with my first child and so I have done a lot of research in regards to raising a child and more specifically common childhood illnesses which may or may not be preventable. If you are like I am then you want to know everything there is to know about parenting and what you can do to provide a better future for your child. Something I stumbled upon quite recently is the concept of blood cord banking and I began to look into the pros and cons of this often questionable practice. But even before that, I wanted to know if taking a sample of blood from my baby’s umbilical cord would hurt him. Here is some of the information I found and you may find it helpful when making your own decisions.
How Blood Samples Are Gathered from a Newborns Umbilical Cord
Unless you have made the decision prior to a baby’s birth, then it is unlikely that the delivery doctor or midwife or the delivery room team would routinely take a sample from your baby’s umbilical cord. However, if your baby is experiencing any kind of respiratory distress and/or potential life threatening issues a sample of his blood is of vital importance. The phlebotomist or support team in the delivery room will draw two specimens, arterial and venous, and save them in special tubes with heparin so that the blood doesn’t clot and dry up. When the baby is born the nurse or doctor will generally clamp off the umbilical cord and the blood can be taken up to about an hour after the baby is born.
Where Does My Baby’s Blood Go from There?
If you have contracted from a blood cord bank prior to the delivery of your baby then you will have the kit on hand to take to the delivery room with you. Hospitals do not do this routinely, as mentioned above, unless the baby is in distress. So then, it should firstly be apparent that the blood will go to the blood bank to be saved in a very precise manner. Here are some important facts regarding this particular part of the process. The nurse, doctor or phlebotomist should draw the blood within one hour and the tubes will be given to you. It is up to you or your family to contact the cord blood bank because they have a very narrow envelope of time in which to collect specimens from you and get them into optimal conditions.
How Much Time Do I Have to Get the Blood/Stem Cell Specimens to the Cord Blood Bank?
This window of time is said to be within 24 to 48 hours but some blood cord banks suggests that it is best to get the blood to cryogenic conditions within the first 22 hours. Fortunately, doctors and nurses are well advised of this and even if you have been heavily sedated for a C-section, for example, they will give the kit to a husband or other family member in order to expedite getting it to the blood bank. These samples can be stored indefinitely under the proper conditions so even 70 years down the road when your baby is an old man, he will be able to benefit from his very own unique stem cells. Yes, it is in the experimental stages at this moment but within the very near future much will be accomplished with stem cells.
Regenerative medicine has really made big steps in recent years and this is only set to continue. Cord blood can be saved for many years and only time will tell how many conditions it can help with.