Midwife Marija Urbo
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Umbilical cord blood is the blood that is found in the placenta and the umbilical cord of the newborn after the umbilical cord has been cut. These sources are rich in stem cells, which can be used for treatment of various diseases.
Nowadays, stem cells are widely used for treatment of more than 80 blood-related diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, etc.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells have been used for more than 25 years, and, as of now, there have been more than 30 000 stem cell transplants worldwide.
Please Pay Attention to the Following Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Benefits:
|New and Active Cells||Can be Used to Treat Relatives||Low Risk of Rejection|
These cells are notably younger than bone marrow stem cells, as they have been preserved at the very beginning of the newborn’s life.
Highly compatible with brothers, sisters and other close relatives of the newborn.
During the transplantation process, stem cells present a lower risk of rejection, as they adapt quicker and almost immediately begin to rebuild the hematopoietic system.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after childbirth.The average amount of collected cord blood is between 40 and 100 ml, depending on the physiological characteristics of the umbilical cord.
After collection, cord blood is delivered to the stem cell laboratory, where it is processed to extract the stem cells, as well as detect any viruses and bacteria. Then stem cells are frozen with the help of a special programme and preserved in liquid nitrogen at –196°C. Long-term cryopreservation has been shown to have no effect on the quality and quantity of stem cells.
Umbilical cord blood contains a large amount of unique hematopoietic cells, which are at the peak of their activity. Hematopoietic stem cells facilitate the haematopoiesis process; these cells are able to divide and differentiate into different cell populations - hematopoietic ancestors, which form such mature blood cells as leukocytes, erythrocytes and thrombocytes. Transplanted hematopoietic cells are very effective in therapy, as they are able to restore the hematopoietic system after it has been exposed to blood diseases (such as leukemia) or negative external effects (such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy).
Umbilical cord blood stem cells therapy has the highest compatibility rate, as the child’s own umbilical cord blood is always a 100% match, and there’s a great chance that it is also compatible with the child’s siblings. In cases, where donor cord blood has been used, these stem cells cause less complications, and there is a lower risk of rejection.
Previously, cord blood was usually discarded with the umbilical cord immediately after childbirth, however now parents all over the world are increasingly interested in preserving cord blood stem cells, as they understand that only after birth they have a unique opportunity to provide a personal cell reserve for their child.
Cord blood collection process is an easy and painless procedure that is absolutely safe for both the mother and the child. During the blood collection process, there is no risk of infection. As the medical needle is inserted into the umbilical cord, the blood flows freely into the collection bag. For comparison, to collect stem cells from the bone marrow, the patient has to undergo a 2-hour operation with anesthesia, during which the patient can experience complications related to the respiratory and the circulatory system.
Specially trained midwives carry out the cord blood collection procedure right in the maternity ward after the child has been born, but before the placental expulsion has taken place. After the baby is born, the umbilical cord is compressed the help of a special clamp and the remaining blood is collected in a sterile blood bag with an anticoagulant (fluid that prevents blood coagulation). Then, a tube with a needle for blood collection is attached to the bag. With the help of the needle, the vein is then punctured and the blood is drained into the blood bag. The whole process takes about 2-5 minutes and it can be done both during natural birth and caesarean delivery. Patient data is written on the blood bag and it is then placed in a special blood collection and preservation package.Then the medical staff fills out the accompanying documents and gives the package to the courier, who takes it back to our stem cell center.
If necessary, the stored cord blood stem cells are available immediately, as they are preserved at -196°С temperature, which helps the cells to maintain their functional activity. Stem cell concentrate can be prepared for dispensation (on request) in a short period of time, while the search for a matching donor sample can take several years. By choosing umbilical cord blood stem cells over bone marrow stem cells, patients are able to save money in the long run, as the cost of cord blood stem cell collection, processing and long-term preservation is at least 10 times cheaper than obtaining a matching bone marrow stem cell donor sample.