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RaMa Mama Doula Share: Why Cord Blood?

Cord Blood is blood from the baby that is left in the umbilical cord once it has been clamped, and removed, stored at the public cord blood bank indefinitely, and used to help treat a variety of dis-eases and health conditions by patients that have a perfect match. It has been an acceptable treatment for blood diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, inherited genetic disorders, bone marrow failure, and immune deficiency diseases. People choose to bank cord blood when they have had a family history of specific medical conditions that benefit from stem cells, however, not everyone can use the cord blood. There has to be a perfect match, and even family members don't have this compatibility. It contains special cells, called hematopoietic stem cells, that can be used to treat diseases. Cord blood is one of three different blood-forming stem cells used in transplants. Peripheral blood, blood that circulates through the body, is one, and bone marrow is another. Cord blood is easier to match than these other two ways of harvesting cells. It is also very different because it comes from a newborn and has not been exposed to viruses, pollution, or chemicals that shift cells and their ability to function. This is easier to access as well because reaching out to donors may take time for location and testing. They have to see if they are a match before the blood can be harvested. In life or death emergencies, that time difference could mean someone's life. It usually costs around $500-$2500, plus yearly fees between $100-$300 after that, to maintain your cord blood donation. It is a sacrifice that is usually made when there is a sibling that could benefit, which to some is priceless. The first transplant using cord blood was in 1988, and more than 40,000 patients with disorders and serious diseases have benefited from cord blood since then. It is a personal decision whether or not to donate cord blood, and every family needs to do their own research within and around. If you or someone you know are considering donation, ask your health care provider if it is possible where you are planning to deliver your baby, as it is not available everywhere. It is part of an ongoing research and development to help people in need without harming anyone or anything in the process.

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