Health professionals show importance behind cord blood storage

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – Research shows one and three people can benefit from the healing power of stem cells, and there’s a way to harvest them from birth.

July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month. The blood from an umbilical cord has special cells which can be used to treat blood disease, immune system disorders, and cancers.

UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital RN Debra Johnston said there’s plenty of research which shows these cells can do even more.

“Studies are going on around showing how they can be used to treat Cerebral Palsy, hearing disorders, autism, and pediatric stroke, “Johnston said. “We see a very small percentage of parents utilizing their babies cord blood for storage, and a lot of it is that they don’t hear a lot about it there’s not a big public awareness, so we hope that it can come about through information like this.”

The procedure is done shortly after birth and doesn’t cause any harm to the mother or baby. Parents need to contact a collection center at least four to six weeks before birth in order to get the kit the doctors need to use. Once collected, the cells can be stored indefinitely and used at any time.

“It’s not a routine procedure that we do at the hospital, parents need to look into it, talk to their family members and care givers to find a reputable collection and storage bank, so that they can ask questions get more information,” Johnston said.

Storing cord blood is a personal and financial decision. For private collection it can cost between $1,000 and $5,000. If parents would like to donate publicly, it’s done anonymously and is completely free.

“You just never know when you might have a situation come across one of your children, a family member, or someone else. Stem cells don’t have to be a perfect match they can help someone else,” Johnston said.

Some companies also offer financial assistance for family members in need of the cells. If you would like to find out more information visit this  website.