Cord blood is still unfamiliar territory for most parents, but if your healthcare team has recommended it due to family disease history or concerning signs during prenatal care, it’s an important option to consider. For parents-to-be who wonder if this is right for them, let’s answer the big question: how does cord blood banking actually work?
The first step in the process of cord blood banking is picking out the bank you want to work with. Look for banks with experience, strong customer testimonials, and a willingness to answer questions. Once you’ve found an organization you trust, start speaking with your OB/GYN, birth doula, and partner about your desire to bank cord blood so that everyone is on the same page.
Collecting the Cord Blood
It’s important to speak with your delivery team as soon as you’ve elected to bank cord blood. Bring the collection kit with you to the hospital so that your doctor can clamp, cut, and place the umbilical cord inside the kit after delivery. Once stored away, the collection kit gets shipped back to the bank to undergo processing.
Preserving the Cells
Once your baby’s cord blood reaches the chosen bank, their team begins the process of harvesting stem cells from the blood. The separation recovers the maximum amount of stem cells before the facility moves them to cryogenics and puts the cells “on ice.” Onsite generators and constant temperature monitoring ensure that your deposited cells stay safe and secure no matter what.
Withdrawing the Deposit
You can withdraw the stem cells for any necessary match, whether it’s for the child themselves, their siblings, or their parents. Unlike donor systems, you have immediate access to a viable match. Your blood cord bank works quickly to arrange safe transportation of the stem cells so they’re available for use in treatments moving forward.
Understanding how the process of cord blood banking actually works gives parents-to-be more context as to the costs, involvement, and end goals of this procedure. You and your family can relax knowing a stem cell match is secured and focus on loving life with your new little one!