What is Cord Blood?

These days one hears a lot about cord blood and its uses and virtues from various quarters - pamphlets in hospitals, doctors, and websites and from various marketing sources of private cord blood banks.

The first question in most people’s mind would be “What is cord blood”?

Cord blood is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord of a baby after the baby’s birth. This blood has been found to have some special characteristics and is found to be a rich source of stem cells, which generate the blood cells in our body.

Cord blood is created in the early stages of pregnancy when the baby’s cells divide to form the blood and tissue. The goal of collecting cord blood is to collect stem cells, which can be used to treat various diseases.Stem cells can become any kind of cell in the body, including immune cells and heart cells. However, cord blood contains more stem cells than other tissues and can be used to help more people because it can be collected at birth. Cord blood can also be used to help a family member who has a disease that is not treatable with standard treatments.

Cord blood is being projected and seen as a form of insurance by saving cord blood through banks. The general advice is that in case of a family history of stem cell related problems, it is advisable to bank the cord blood of your child as it might be of use. In other cases, it is every individual’s judgment of whether they want to store the cord blood or not.

Today cord blood has been used to treat more than 80 diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, Crohn’s disease and a number of other conditions.