Cord blood is found in the placenta after the baby is born. The umbilical cord of also contains cord blood - hence the name. Cord blood is one of the most controversial topics these days due to ethical issues. What makes cord blood so special?
Aside from the fact that there is no ample supply of it, cord blood has stem cells, which hold immense potential in treating hematopoietic and genetic disorders. It is essential that the emphasis is placed on the word “potential” as today, there really isn’t much practical use for cord blood and stem cells. For future purposes, researchers are looking into using cord blood to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cerebral palsy, cardiovascular injuries, sickle cell anemia, and leukemia.
One thing about cord blood is that aside from using one’s own cord blood for treatment, it can also be used to treat other people. In this case, the cord blood is considered donor blood. Immediate relatives - parents and siblings - can benefit from donor cord blood. It seems, however, that siblings are a better match as compared to parents.
With this potential in mind, cord blood banks have gone up in popularity. The idea is that advances in science and technology will pave the way for cord blood and stem cells to be actually used to treat diseases and even save people’s lives. Harvesting cord blood is a once-in-a-lifetime chance - during birth. If this chance is not taken, the cord blood can never be retrieved, hence the importance of banking.