Cord blood refers to the blood that is left inside the umbilical cord once a baby is born. Cord blood contains stem cells, special cells that can be used to treat dozens of diseases and conditions, including some cancers, genetic conditions, and immune system disorders.
Cord blood banking uses special techniques to collect and store cord blood so it can be used if needed in the future. Private cord blood banks store the blood for use by the child or another family member while public banks store cord blood for use by anyone who is a match.
Cord blood is collected at the time of birth using a completely painless procedure to extract the blood from the umbilical cord after the baby is born. During extraction, the cord is clamped and a needle is used to drain the blood from the cord into a special storage container. Once the blood has been extracted, the placenta is delivered. The entire process takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Cord blood that is not extracted for banking is discarded along with the cord and the placenta.
In short, yes, the stem cells can be used to treat disorders or diseases that may occur in the baby or in some other family members, depending on the underlying condition that's being treated and other factors. Cord blood can be used to treat genetic diseases as well as conditions like leukemia, retinoblastoma, and neuroblastoma.
The stem cells derived from cord blood can differentiate – or change into – many types of other cells and they can play a significant role in helping the body repair damage from disease or even promote a healthy immune response to help fight disease. To date, stem cells are used to treat more than 80 diseases and research is ongoing into new uses.
*Individual Results May Vary