Umbilical Cord Blood Storage

The umbilical cord blood - a valuable source!

The umbilical cord blood is medically highly interesting because it has a high concentration of hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells stimulate blood formation in the organism and can regenerate cells.

Potential Life- Savers

Stem cells can be life-saving because umbilical cord stem cells can often be used to find therapeutic approaches for haematopoietic disorders such as leukaemia or anaemia, but also for diseases of the immune system. For a long time now, research has also focused on the use of mesenchymal cells. Here, therapeutic approaches are used, among other things, to treat joint diseases with stem cells. Stem cells also receive a lot of collagen and hyaluron.

STORAGE & DONATION in Germany

The umbilical cord blood can be donated in Germany or stored for purchase.
The Cord Blood Bank Mannheim was founded in 1996 and is now called German Stem Cell Donor Center Cord Blood. Since then cord blood transplants from unrelated donors have been stored here.

Donation

The German stem cell donor center for cord blood is one of the largest cord blood banks in Germany. The storage is free of charge. However, a donation kit must be ordered before delivery. Some clinics that work directly with the donation file already have a kit in the delivery room. (Please ask in your clinic before) Here a link to the website with more information.

The DKMS also accepts donations. However, it only cooperates with some clinics. Here is the link to their partner clinics. In these already donation kits are  available. Here a link for more general information.

It is important that you let the clinic know in advance (when you arrive in the delivery room) that you would like to donate! Preparations must be made.

Storage for self-use

If you want to store cord blood for your own use, there are several commercial providers from whom you have to order a collection kit in advance. One of the biggest suppliers are Vita 34 and Eticur.

The storage costs vary from company to company, but starts at around 1000€ and quickly goes up to 5000€. These costs will not be reimbursed.

Again, it is important that you let the clinic know in advance (when you arrive in the delivery room) that you would like to store the umbilical cord blood, as preparations must be made.

Benefits 

What are the advantages of storing cord blood now (privately or as a donation)?

  1. It is easy to remove. Removal is simple and painless. Mother and child do not notice anything. Although the risk of mild anaemia in the newborn is somewhat increased, this is not a serious risk for a healthy child.
  2. The stem cells from the umbilical cord blood are very growth-friendly and tolerant. Their genetic material is still free from environmental damage. They therefore offer great potential. After a transplantation, they also attack the recipient's cells less frequently.
  3. The cells provide help not only for the child from whose umbilical cord they were taken, but also for siblings if stored privately. There is a chance of about 25 percent that the blood is suitable for transplantation.

Limits

BUT one should keep in mind that the research on cord blood is far from being finished. Today there are still limits to its use and storage is always a bet on the future.

  1. The cord blood is not used for leukemia in early childhood The first progenitor cells are often already found in the umbilical cord, so an autologous donation increases the risk of a relapse.
  2. Hereditary diseases cannot yet be cured with stem cells
  3. The umbilical cord contains little blood. This is enough for treating children, but for older teenagers or young adults it is usually not enough. These usually need an additional donation. But work is underway on a method for cell proliferation.

Disadvantages

  1. A disadvantage is that the umbilical cord cannot be pulsed out at birth. Late cutting of the cord is not possible. In order to obtain enough cord blood (a special amount is always necessary), the umbilical cord must be cut more quickly.
  2. A certain restlessness comes into the birth process, as for the extraction everything must be sterile and this means that some steps must be prepared. This can be a disruptive factor, especially if a clinic is not experienced in the collection of samples.
  3. In emergency situations and in c-sections, cord blood collection is only possible to a limited extent. Of course, the first thing that counts here is the safety of mother and child. 

The decision is not easy, there is no right and wrong.
Everyone must inform themselves and decide for themselves what is personally right.

 

June 2020 - Dr. Christine Krämer M.D.
This blog post has been prepared with the greatest possible care and does not claim to be correct, complete or up-to-date.“
Please make sure to talk to a specialist if you have more questions.

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