Thousands of lives around the World have been saved by Cord Blood Transplant. Is there any risks or complications in the process of storing cord blood? Let Dr Ashish Munjal answers your doubts and concerns on Cord blood banking.
The Frequently Asked Questions on Cord Blood Banking
1. How high are the success rates in treating illnesses?
Cord blood banking is an option and a good alternative to bone marrow for transplants related to blood and immune disorders. There have been more than 20,000 transplants worldwide using cord blood. The success rate is dependent on many medical factors and the severity of the disease. However, scientists are working on more effective use of stem cells for curing a variety of disorders.
2. Can a baby’s cord blood be used for his siblings/others as well?
Yes, if the cord blood unit adequately matches with the recipient’s blood. As the chance of a match is higher within a family, the sibling may have better odds of recovery. Your transplant physician will be the best person to advise you on this.
3. Is there any pain or risk involved in cord blood banking?
No. Since the blood is collected from the placenta after delivery of the baby, there is no pain and no risk. An expert who collects the cord blood is trained to take all necessary precautions.
4. What is the process of cord blood banking – from collecting to storing?
After the baby is born and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, the cord blood is collected from the residual blood in the placenta of the umbilical cord. Once the blood is collected in a sterile bag by a trained professional (usually a doctor or nurse), it is stored at 8-12 deg C until it reaches the processing lab. As per international guidelines, the blood should be processed and stored (Cryopreserved) within 48 hours of collection.
5. How long can cord blood stem cells be stored and how long should they be stored?
The current practice and recommended storage is 21 years. At this age, the child whose cord blood was stored by parents can take the decision legally on whether he/she wishes to continue the storage. The researchers are working extensively in the field of regenerative medicine to see how the cord blood stem cells can be used for better treatment of various disorders.
Since storing cord blood is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the decision has to be made by the parents for the future security of their family. Usually, the cryopreserved samples can be stored for decades if adequate measures are taken during storage. However, the suggested extension of cord blood storage after 21 years is still not known, nor recommended by global authorities in the field.
6. How do I tell if a cord blood bank is credible? What are the accreditations to look out for?
AABB & FACT are the most common accreditations that cord blood banks across the world choose to have. That ensures that the protocols being followed by the cord blood bank are appropriate.
By Dr. Ashish Munjal
Dr Ashish Munjal, a medical doctor, is the Chief Operating Officer of Cryoviva Singapore and has 14 years of experience in the medical field including 5 years in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies.
About Cryoviva Singapore Pte Ltd
Cryoviva Singapore is another extension of world-class quality services in cord blood banking and is a joint venture between Cryoviva International Pte Ltd (owned by Mr Ravi Jaipuria, Chairman of RJ Corp India, and Dr T Chandroo, Chairman of Modern Montessori International Group, Singapore) and AsiaMedic Ltd, which has 25% stake in the Company. AsiaMedic Ltd is an SGX Catalist-listed company in Singapore. Cryoviva Singapore’s affiliated cord blood banks in India and Thailand hold AABB accreditation, and with its recent entry in Singapore, the Company intends to expand operations further in the Southeast Asian region.
Read more about Cord blood banking here.