When babies are born, they come to this world with super power that protects them from various medical conditions and provides a lifetime of good health. Your little super hero’s power lies in the stem cells present in the umbilical cord blood. Cord blood banking is the process of safely preserving these lifesaving stem cells after childbirth which can protect your child.
Researchers found that the umbilical cord blood and cord tissue are the richest source of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells respectively which has the power to heal and renew damages tissues and organs in the body. If preserved properly, stem cells have no expiration date and can be used anytime in the future as the need arises. Banking umbilical cord stem cells is a once in a lifetime opportunity and hence it has to be performed right after childbirth.
Stem cell banking is done in 5 simple steps, which are as follows:
After choosing the right stem cell bank, sign up for cord blood banking service well before your expected date of delivery. Following the enrollment, you will receive a collection kit which needs to be carried to the hospital at the time of delivery. This kit contains the tools and instruments required for the collection of umbilical cord blood, tissue and maternal blood samples. Ensure that the collection kit is sealed properly as it must be maintained in sterile condition.
It is a safe and simple 10-minute procedure that causes no harm to the mother and the baby. Umbilical cord blood collection does not interfere with the birthing process as it is performed only after safe delivery of the baby.
After the child is born, the umbilical cord is clamped at both the ends and cut by the attending gynecologist through a safe procedure. The samples collected from the umbilical cord are:
- A little amount of mother’s peripheral blood
- Blood inside the umbilical cord and
- Small pieces of umbilical cord tissue
These samples are collected by the paramedic and stored in the collection kit, which are sealed properly and sent to the lab for processing.
The collected samples must reach the laboratory within 48 hours and usually transported through special logistics provider to ensure fast delivery and avoid x-ray screening at the airports. Some stem cell banks offer online tracking facility to the customers in order to keep track of the sample transport.
4. Testing & Processing
Once the samples reach the laboratory, they are tested for contamination or infectious diseases. The tests are also performed to check the cell count, viability and sterility of the samples. Following positive test results, they are moved to the processing area for the extraction of stem cells.
The cord blood sample is processed by automated or manual processing technique to remove the red blood cells and retrieve only the stem cells. The cord tissue sample is cut into small pieces and the stem cells are isolated by a special Explant cell culture process. After processing, they undergo various levels of quality assessment to ensure the viability and purity of the stem cells.
After necessary quality analysis, the stem cell samples are mixed with cryogenic solution (to maintain cell viability under frozen state) and frozen slowly for preservation. They are then transferred to large cryogenic containers with liquid nitrogen to maintain cryogenic conditions below -150 degree Celsius.
After cryopreservation, a sample preservation certificate will be sent to the parents to indicate the safe banking of their children’s stem cells.
Your baby’s stem cells will remain safe in the cryopreservation chambers for decades and they can be retrieved anytime if required for a stem cell transplant. Upon request from the transplant physician, the sample will be released by the stem cell bank. Private stem cell banks collect stem cell banking fee for the collection and maintenance of the sample based on the choice of your storage plan.
Stem cell banking is a safe process that can help protect your child’s future health for a lifetime. Give your children, the gift of good health they deserve by banking their stem cells.