cord-bloodWhile we all sit here scratching our heads, wondering how on earth it is July already (just 24 weeks until Christmas FYI eeek!), we also really wanted to help raise awareness and understanding of cord blood, as July is Cord Blood Awareness Month.

Perhaps you have had experience in cord blood banking or donation? If so, this is the month to share your story. It could change someone’s life. It could stop this potentially life-saving blood from being thrown away as medical waste after delivery. Post your story on Facebook, tweet it, blog it, tell your friends over coffee. July is the time to remind women everywhere how incredibly rich and powerful our bodies really are.

Or perhaps you or someone you know is currently pregnant and just starting to think about cord blood? Or perhaps you haven’t heard about it? Or even considered it before? Either way, we hope our little top line summary below helps inspire, inform and continue this all important conversation, both this month and beyond!

What is cord blood?

Cord blood is the blood that’s left in your baby’s former lifeline – your umbilical cord – once the baby has been delivered and the cord is cut. It can be collected and stored for years for future medical use. It is completely safe for mom and baby and may also be collected following a C-section delivery.

Why collect it?

Umbilical cord blood is a precious source of stem cells that are unique to your baby and family.  The Cord Blood Registry describe stem cells as the body’s ‘master cells’ – they can mature and regenerate into the cells that form all tissues, organs and systems in the body. Stem cells have been used for decades in lifesaving treatments for diseases such as leukaemia, other cancers and blood disorders. There are in fact almost 80 serious diseases that a baby’s cord blood can be used for today. The ability of stem cells to repair damaged cells and body tissue is also offering hope to people with conditions that currently have no cure, like brain injury, infant stroke, and juvenile diabetes.

Collecting and storing a baby’s unique, rich cord blood can offer parents peace of mind. No one likes to think about future illnesses, nor can we predict them, but it can be reassuring to know, that if stem cells are ever needed, cord blood is available.

How do you store cord blood?

You can either donate cord blood to a public bank to help others with medical needs, or you can store it in a private family bank exclusively for your family, should they ever need it. With private banking the cord blood can be collected anywhere you deliver your baby. A kit containing the necessary materials to perform a cord blood collection is mailed directly to you (or you can ask your doctor). All you have to do is simply bring the kit to the hospital with you, and a medical professional will conduct the cord blood collection. It will then be shipped to a processing facility where the cord blood is stored.

So there you have it. The topline details. Modern medicine really is amazing isn’t it? We know this is an important decision for your family, so for more detailed information, please visit: http://www.cordblood.com/

Remember, you have to make the decision about cord blood banking BEFORE your baby is born, so it’s never too early to start researching and talking about it with friends and family.