Umbilical Cord Blood
Umbilical cord blood (often called cord blood) is the blood that circulates through the umbilical cord from the foetus to the placenta. It is the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born and the cord is cut. The umbilical cord, placenta and the residual blood in it, is usually discarded after the baby has been delivered. This cord blood is a rich source of HSCs and is well-recognised to be useful for treating blood-related cancers, immune and some genetic disorders.
Umbilical cord blood collection has been carried out for over two decades. The procedure is done only after the baby has been delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. It is non-invasive and painless for the mother and baby.
Donation of cord blood after a baby's safe delivery is encouraged as it has the potential to save the lives of patients searching for a matching stem cell unit to survive. The stem cells found in umbilical cord blood can help to cure patients of diseases such as leukaemia, thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, other blood cancers and disorders, as well as immune disorders.
Cord blood donation to a public cord blood bank is strongly encouraged by organisations like the American Medical Association and the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. Cord blood from a different individual (as compared to the child's own cord blood) is the most commonly used form of cord blood transplant. This is because another individual's cord blood will not contain the genetic deficiencies that caused the disease that led to the need for a transplant.