Cord Blood Awareness Month

Cord Blood Awareness Month is celebrated in July and the day has been set aside to raise awareness on the importance of cord blood. Cord blood banking is storing the stem cells in umbilical cord blood. The cord blood is collected after the baby is born and after any delayed cord clamping. Alternatively parents can save cord blood, where it may be used for sibling transplants for disorders such as thalassemia, or returned to the baby to help with developmental conditions such as cerebral palsy or autism.

Research indicates that of the 4 million births that occur annually, 90% of the stem cells that are contained in the cord blood are treated as medical wastes and are discarded. The stem cells that are contained in cord blood are important as they can be used in treatment of illnesses. The day was dedicated by the health information center to raise awareness on the importance of cord blood. Educating expectant mothers on the value of cord blood will help to save the precious commodity and prevent it from being thrown away as a medical waste.

The celebration of this month helps in raising awareness on the importance of stem cells that are contained in cord blood. These stem cells are used in regeneration of tissues and treatment of varied illnesses. The conditions that can be treated using stem cells from cord blood include lymphomas, leukemia, varied types of cancers, osteoporosis, anemias, and other immune and blood disorders. The stem cells are contained in cord blood and they are usually available at the birth of a baby. There are three sources of stem cells and these are bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood. Cord blood is one of the sources that are underutilized because of lack of awareness.

The cord blood is collected when a baby is being born and this helps in provision of stem cells. After the delivery of a new born, the umbilical cord clamping is done and then cut and tied. The blood that is contained in the umbilical cord is collected and the stem cells contained inside are extracted and stored for future medicinal use. Research shows that there are almost 80 conditions that can be treated using cord blood. There are two ways in which the cord blood cells can be stored and this are in a private family bank or a public one. Public banks usually take cord blood from few hospitals within the country. This blood is made available to anyone who is in need provided the patient matches with the donor. On the other hand, private banks are where the cord blood is stored privately for a specific family. In this case, when there is a need for stem cells in the family, they are able to get immediate access to the blood.

The month is set aside to raise awareness on the importance of stem cells that are contained in cord blood. The stem cells can be used in the treatment of many conditions and expectant mothers are encouraged on the need to donate and save cord blood. The information can be transmitted through the word of mouth from one person to another. This can be done by educating medical staffs on the need to pass information to their clients including the patients, relative and everyone who visits their hospital. The information can also be passed to all expectant mothers as they go for their prenatal care. The mothers can be educated on the importance of the cord blood and why they need to donate it.

Celeste Botonakis

On the Nursing Assistant Guides blog, certified medical assistant Celeste Botonakis explores the daily life of a CMA. She'll keep you up-to-date with the latest on what’s happening in the field, and provides tips for those who are interested in becoming a medical or nursing assistant. Celeste has served in the medical field for over six years, and is passionate about helping people. She currently works at CSR Primary Care in Skokie, Illinois. Click here to learn more about Celeste Botonakis and