Umbilical cord blood

Few would have thought a few years ago that umbilical cord blood would have any use. The term "cut the cord" was used to demonstrate independence, a freedom from something useless. Throughout most of history, the umbilical cord has been regarded as useless after the birth of the infant and is customarily discarded shortly after birth. However, in recent years, the wondrous, lifesaving properties of umbilical cord blood have been discovered. Leukemia and lymphoma patients who had to rely on a match within their families now have hope if they do not find what they are looking for through traditional meals. Umbilical cord blood can regenerate blood cells for these patients, and can save or extend their lives.

Unlike many kinds of blood, umbilical cord blood can build new cells. Most blood cells suffer from reduction or can stay the same, but do not produce more. Umbilical cord blood has the power of producing life-saving cells for patients with a variety of diseases. These cells produce more cells and can give patients a new chance at life.

Umbilical cord blood must be fit for use, so all donors must be approved. To donate umbilical cord blood, a pregnant woman must make arrangements with the hospital ahead of time and answer a questionnaire. After the umbilical cord blood is taken shortly after birth, the blood and the mother are tested again. Many women with certain conditions and blood problems cannot donate umbilical cord blood, but those who are in good general health are free to donate. However, not all umbilical cord blood even from healthy mothers is deemed acceptable to be kept in a blood cord bank. This is decided by professionals who inspect the blood.

Some women choose to store their umbilical cord blood in case their baby may have problems later and may need the blood, or for other family members who require treatment. Others donate their umbilical cord blood to banks that will give the blood to anonymous recipients.

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