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Does It Make Sense To Bank Your Baby’s Cord Tissue?

August 8, 2012

Does It Make Sense To Bank Your Baby’s Cord Tissue?

The practice of banking the cord blood and cord tissue from one’s baby is a relatively new thing and it has definitely not achieved universal acceptance as of yet. Actually, it is more accurate to say that it is still not all that widely known, despite some very significant benefits to banking this tissue for possible future use. As people become more aware of the potential health benefits of cord blood and tissue, however, it is far more likely that it will become a much more accepted practice and perhaps quite popular as well. One of the advantages of banking cord blood and tissue immediately following the birth of a child is that this blood and tissue is an excellent source of stem cells. These cells, often known as the master cells of the body due to their ability to transform themselves into virtually any type of cell; and this makes stem cells the source of some very promising and innovative therapies. Even though the technology is still in its infancy, cord blood and tissue is thought to have therapeutic value for as many as eighty different diseases and genetic disorders, including therapies which are quite literally lifesaving. The blood and/or tissue is collected immediately after the birth of the child since it must be placed into storage as quickly as possible after collection. It is then thoroughly tested in order to ensure that it is free of any diseases which could be transmitted to the recipient of stem cells from this blood or tissue and that the tissue will be a viable source of stem cells for lifesaving therapies. While bone marrow is often used in a similar manner to cord blood and cord tissue, there are a few qualities which cord blood and tissue have that make these materials preferable to bone marrow in many situations. For instance, a perfect match is not a necessity when using cord blood and tissue, whereas this is a requirement for therapeutic bone marrow transplants. By contrast, a partial match between cord blood or tissue donor and recipient is still enough to make it viable as a treatment. In fact, even if the degree of matching is relatively low, there may also be some therapeutic value in using this tissue; the risk of rejection is low even in a lesser match. There are other advantages of using cord blood and tissue. For instance, it is incredibly easy to collect this material and it poses absolutely no risk to mother or child and can be quickly transported to a tissue bank for testing and long term storage. Given that it can save lives, whether of someone in your immediate family (or if you choose to donate the cord blood or tissue to a public tissue bank ) or a complete stranger and is so easy to collect, it only makes sense to bank cord tissue and cord blood. While there are a lot of different advantages to banking cord blood and tissue, there are also a few downsides to the practice. For instance, there is a small (very small, as in less than one in ten thousand) chance that the donor material may carry genetically transmitted immune disorders – and these conditions may not be apparent until years after the transplant takes place. Another disadvantage of cord blood and tissue banking is that the quantity of blood and tissue is quite small and may not be enough material to be effective in a transplant procedure to an adult recipient. Finally, there is the cost of banking this tissue. Unless you choose to donate this tissue to a public tissue bank (and not all tissue banks will accept this material), then you will be dealing with a private cryogenic tissue banking facility. Although this cost isn’t enough to break the bank in most cases, it can be significant enough that you may want to keep this in mind as a factor in your decision. If the cost is not an issue, however, there are more than enough advantages to cord blood and tissue banking to make it worth considering, whether it’s a private tissue bank or donating to a public bank which could possibly use the material to save someone else’s life later on down the road. About The Author: Robert O. Dewald has written this article.


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