Cord blood refers to the blood in the umbilical cord and placenta of the new born baby following delivery. The baby’s umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) which can be used to treat more than 80 conditions, including blood cancer, anemia, osteoporosis, and several other blood and immune system disorders. Through blood banking, this cord blood can be stored for future medical use. Parents can either donate their baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank for anyone who needs it or pay to store the baby’s cord blood in a family cord blood bank for their family’s use.
According to the “2015-16 Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report,” lack of awareness is a major concern when it comes to preserving cord blood. Most people are unaware of the benefits and throw the cord away as medical waste after delivery. A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine identified that one third of expectant parents are unaware of the option to preserve cord blood and 74% of the parents describe themselves as “minimally informed.”
Every year July month is observed as National cord blood awareness month. This is to raise awareness of umbilical cord blood stem cells and cord blood banking among families.
In April 2015, Save the Cord Foundation, and BioInformant Worldwide, LLC has partnered to launch an awareness campaign called “Cord Blood Banking Awareness: Educating America and the World.” The campaign is a global effort to educate currently expecting parents, as well as future parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, about the medical benefits of cord blood preservation.
Cord blood contains all the elements of regular blood – red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. It is also rich in stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow. Cord blood collection is easy and do not pose any risk to the mother or the baby. The procedure is done using medical-grade materials such as – collection and processing bags, sterile alcohol and iodine wipes, blood collection tubes, syringes and needles, biohazard bags and courier pack for return transport. Standard safety procedures should be followed to avoid cord blood contamination. All sample labels should contain the time and date of collection as well as the time and date of delivery. Blood collection kits from reliable dealers can ensure safe handling of samples.