Tag Archive | "red blood cells"

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Umbilical Cord Blood Harvesting

It is a prerequisite to create awareness about the procedure of cord blood harvesting to the parents while promoting the advantages of the umbilical cord blood. Many parents fear that cord blood collection might harm the child or the mother. But the truth is the collection of cord blood does not harm the mother or the child in any way and it is painless for the mother. The procedure of collecting the cord blood is called umbilical cord blood harvesting.

The cord blood is collected soon after the child birth once the umbilical cord is cut separating the child from the mother. The cord blood is collected from placenta through the umbilical cord before the delivery of the placenta. 97% of the blood is collected from the placenta whereas only 3% of the blood is collected from the umbilical cord. That is why it is sometimes referred as placental blood. The cord blood harvesting has to be performed quickly as there are high chances of blood getting clotted.

The procedure of harvesting cord blood has to be done by an expert obstetrician or by trained specialist who can perform them in a safe and correct manner. This is due to the fact that there are possibilities of contamination of blood during the procedure. Since the umbilical cord is wound up in birth canals there are high chances bacteria being present there which can contaminate the cord blood. Also any contact with unsterile equipment during the process of harvesting can prove unsafe.

Usually the cord blood is collected in a sterile syringe or a harvest bag. The only disadvantage of collecting them through a syringe is that amount of the blood drawn will be minimal, though it is cost effective and easy to perform. On an average the amount of blood drawn from the placenta is 90ml. But harvesting a larger amount of blood will contribute to preserving a larger amount of stem cells. So it is best to harvest cord blood in the special harvest bag. Whether the cord blood is harvested through the usage of syringe or harvest bag, care has to be taken to make sure that the cord blood is sterile.

Many parents wonder if the cord blood harvesting procedure is safe during high-risk delivery such as diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Cord blood harvesting is safe for not only high-risk delivery but also for unprepared delivery such as premature delivery or C- section or post-term delivery. It is not recommended only in case of HIV infected mothers or those carrying Hepatitis B or C. But in cases where there are multiple complications in delivery, it is left to the judgment and decision of the obstetrician whether to go ahead with cord blood harvesting as there has to be availability of proper time frame to handle such cases.

What is more important is the critical nature of cord blood harvesting. The challenge in conducting a high quality harvesting rests in the fact that a sterile cord blood is collected with the possibility of maximal amount.

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Diseases Treated with Umbilical Cord Blood

The umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells which are termed as hematopoietic cells. These cells have the capability to produce different kinds of cells in the blood i.e. red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

It is found that stem cell transplantation cannot be used to treat all kinds of diseases but can treat more than 70 different types of diseases. Researchers have found that stem cells stored from umbilical cord can be used to treat various types of cancers, disorders and abnormalities.

With the success of stem cell transplantation in 1988 stem cells have been used to treat various diseases through stem cell transplants. The major advantage of stem cell transplants is that there is no requirement for a perfect donor match like in a bone marrow transplant and cord blood is available in cord blood banks, which can be made available.

Diseases that are treated by stem cells are:

1) Acute Leukemia

• Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia (ALL)
• Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
• Acute Biphenotypic Leukemia
• Acute Undifferentiated Leukemia

2) Chronic Leukemia

• Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
• Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
• Juvenile Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (JCML)
• Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML)
• Myelodysplastic Syndromes
• Amyloidosis
• Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
• Refractory Anemia (RA)
• Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts (RAEB)
• Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts in Transformation
• (RAEB-T)
• Refractory Anemia with Ringed Sideroblasts (RARS)


1) Stem Cell Disorders

• Aplastic Anemia (Severe)
• Fanconi Anemia
• Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
• Congenital Cytopenia
• Dyskeratosis Congenita

2) Myeloproliferative Disorders

• Acute Myelofibrosis
• Agnogenic Myeloid Metaplasia (myelofibrosis)
• Polycythemia Vera
• Essential Thrombocythemia

3) Lymphoproliferative Disorders

• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
• Hodgkin’s disease
• Prolymphocytic Leukemia

4) Phagocyte Disorders

• Chediak-Higashi Syndrome
• Chronic Granulomatous Disease
• Neutrophil Actin Deficiency
• Reticular Dysgenesis

5) Inherited Metabolic Disorders

• Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS)
• Hurler’s Syndrome (MPS-IH)
• Scheie Syndrome (MPS-IS)
• Hunter’s Syndrome (MPS-II)
• Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPS-III)
• Morquio Syndrome (MPS-IV)
• Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome (MPS-VI)
• Sly Syndrome, Beta-Glucuronidase Deficiency (MPS-VII)
• Adrenoleukodystrophy
• Mucolipidosis II (I-cell Disease)
• Krabbe Disease
• Gaucher’s Disease
• Niemann-Pick Disease
• Wolman Disease
• Metachromatic Leukodystrophy

6) Histiocytic Disorders

• Familial Erythrophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
• Histiocytosis-X
• Hemophagocytosis
• Langerhans’ Cell Histiocytosis

7) Inherited Immune System Disorders

• Ataxia-Telangiectasia
• Kostmann Syndrome
• Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
• DiGeorge Syndrome
• Bare Lymphocyte Syndrome
• Omenn’s Syndrome
• Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
• SCID with Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency
• Absence of T & B Cells SCID
• Absence of T Cells, Normal B Cell SCID
• Common Variable Immunodeficiency
• Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome
• X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disorder

8) Other Inherited Disorders

• Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
• Cartilage-Hair Hypoplasia
• Glanzmann Thrombasthenia
• Osteopetrosis
• Adrenoleukodystrophy
• Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
• Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria
• Sandhoff Disease

9) Plasma Cell Disorders

• Multiple Myeloma
• Plasma Cell Leukemia
• Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
• Amyloidosis


1) Inherited Platelet Abnormalities

Amegakaryocytosis / Congenital Thrombocytopenia

2) Inherited Erythrocyte Abnormalities

• Beta Thalassemia Major
• Sickle Cell Disease
• Blackfan-Diamond Anemia
• Pure Red Cell Aplasia

Other Malignancies

• Ewing Sarcoma
• Neuroblastoma
• Renal Cell Carcinoma
• Retinoblastoma
• Brain tumor
• Ovarian Cancer
• Small Cell Lung Cancer
• Testicular Cancer

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Cord Blood Donation

Your baby may be able to save someone’s life just by being born. When you give birth, you have three options for what to do with the placenta and umbilical cord blood:

* Trash it. This is what usually happens. What a waste.
* Store it for possible use by you, your child or a member of your family.
* Donate it for public storage so that it can be used for research or to treat or save the life of an unrelated person.

Cord blood contains hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, “Each year thousands of patients are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that can be treated by rebuilding the patient’s hematopoietic (blood cell producing) system with blood-forming cells. Umbilical cord blood is being studied as one of the sources of blood cells.” So why throw cord blood away when it can be put to good use treating life-threating disease? Consider,

• Donating cord blood is medically safe. The cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord after your baby is born.
• Donation does not change the birth process.
• Donating cord blood is free to you and completely confidential.

Here’s how to get started:

–> Learn more about cord blood donation. The NMDP has tons of information including a FAQ, eligibility guidelines, participating cord blood banks and hospitals and more.

–> Register to donate between your 28th and 35th week of pregnancy.

Some expectant families may be considering storage for private use.  We have a quiz that can help you make the choice between private storage and public storage (donation).

Think about it. Talk about it with your partner. Pray about it. And consider what a blessing your child’s birth can be to some other mother’s child. Regardless of your decision, remember that there are many ways you can donate life.

Learn about cord blood harvesting >>

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How much do you know about donating umbilical cord blood?

1. How many diseases are currently being treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood?

A. 10
B. 20
C. 30
D. 40

2. My child’s umbilical cord blood can potentially be used to treat:

A. My Child
B. My Child’s Siblings
C. Myself
D. All of the above

3. Current research on future stem cell applications includes:

A. Heart Disease and Stroke
B. Spinal Cord Injury
C. Diabetes
D. All of the above

4. Which of the following statements is/are true?

A. The survival rate is higher when stem cells are transplanted from a relative.
B. There is an increased chance of a match between your child’s cord blood and a sibling.
C. Your child’s stem cells can also be used for other family members.
D. All of the above

5. Why is cord blood valuable?

A. Because it contains red blood cells
B. Because it contains stem cells
C. Because it contains white blood cells
D. Because it contains platelets

6. Umbilical cord blood is collected:

A. During pregnancy
B. During birth
C. Immediately after your child is born and the cord is cut
D. 5 days after your child is born

7. Cord blood is collected from:

A. The umbilical cord
B. The umbilical cord and placenta
C. The umbilical cord and uterus
D. The umbilical cord and navel

8. Cord blood stem cells have the ability to regenerate:

A. Red Blood Cells
B. White Blood Cells
C. Platelets
D. All of the above

9. How long can your child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells be saved for?

A. Over 15 years
B. 10 years
C. 5 years
D. 1 year

10. Benefits of donating umbilical cord blood compared to bone marrow include:

A. Proliferates faster
B. Generates a wider variety of tissue types
C. Minimizes the risk of Graft versus Host Disease
D. All of the above


1. D

Stem cells are involved in the curing of over 40 different life threatening diseases and illnesses. The ongoing research and development in stem cell research are leading to a direction where the applications of stem cells will continue to grow and expand rapidly to include many of the currently untreatable, but horribly devastating diseases and illnesses. Banking and donating your child’s cord blood now will help ensure that your family has this potential life-saving resource at your fingertips whenever you may need it.

2. D

Your child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells are a distinct match to your child, so any time your child needs them they will be available for immediate use. This eliminates the need for searching to find a matching donor and no chance of rejection or tissue incompatibility. Furthermore, by donating your child’s umbilical cord blood it can also be used for siblings and other members of your family who have matching tissue. Siblings have up to a 50% chance of compatibility, which is great odds.

3. D

There is fast development in the field of stem cell research. Stem cell research offers hope for many untreatable degenerative illnesses and diseases, including the repair of hair tissue or brain tissue to treat heart disease and strokes, spinal cord injury, arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and others. Cord blood banking, or donation of umbilical cord blood, allows your child to take full advantage of future emerging treatments as they become readily available.

4. D

Once banked, your child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells can provide insurance for your entire family, biologically. Since umbilical cord blood stem cells are at a more primitive stage than bone marrow, doctors are able to generate a wider variety of tissue types. Therefore, they regenerate faster and there is a decreased risk of rejection by the body and deadly complications such as Graft-versus-Host illness.

5. B

Umbilical Cord blood is valuable because it contains powerful things called haematopoeitic stem cells. Stem cells are referred to as “miracle cells” because they are master cells which have the unique ability to regenerate and replenish any cell in the blood. Cord blood stem cells are a proven alternative to bone marrow and can be used to treat illnesses.

6. C

Umbilical Cord blood is collected right away after your child is born and the umbilical cord is cut. Umbilical cord blood collection takes your doctor only a few minutes to perform and is 100% safe. It does not affect the childbirth experience in any way.

7. B

Umbilical Cord blood is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta after the child is born and the umbilical cord is cut. The umbilical cord blood is normally discarded after birth. By choosing to save your child’s cord blood, you are offering your child a distinct health advantage for the future years of its’ life.

8. D

Umbilical Cord blood stem cells can regenerate in any cell in blood, including oxygen carrying red blood cells, infection fighting white blood cells, which play a crucial role in the body’s immune system (ability to fight disease), and platelets, which help to clot blood during cuts and bruises.

9. D

Studies have shown that cryogenically frozen stem cells hold their viability following fifteen years of storage. Extrapolation based upon a half-life mode suggests that stem cells can be cryo-preserved for the lifespan of a patient.

10. D

Your child’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells are a perfect match to your child, so any time your child needs them, they are available for immediate use and can save a life. There is no need to search for a matching donor and there is no chance of rejection or tissue incompatibility. Therefore, there is a reduced risk of infection and rejection. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are able to proliferate faster and generate a wider variety of tissue types!

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