During pregnancy a lot of crazy things happen in your body; you grow a whole person, that's pretty amazing! With growing that person, you also grow a few extra bits that allow baby to live inside of you; your placenta and umbilical cord. Once baby is out and their own individual, separate from you, those 'extras' pretty much become waste. Midwives do say that you can keep and eat your placenta should you wish; it's not something that has ever appealed to me personally, but it is personal choice.
As these bits come out of your body, they contain blood and are highly rich in it too! This blood has a high content of stem cells which can help cure a variety of life-threatening illnesses by helping to restore a patients immune and blood-producing systems. Stem cells from 'cord blood' are very similar to those found in bone marrow and so are crucial in the battle against diseases like leukaemia.
The NHS run a cord-blood bank but only in a limited amount of areas. This is a public cord-blood bank, which means that should you 'donate' your blood, it becomes public domain and can be used on any patient, there are also private cord-blood banks which charge a fee (one-off and annual) which makes your blood available to you only. A lot of people opt to use a private bank by way of security incase someone in their family is taken ill with a stem-cell-taxable illness which is perfectly fine.
That said, when I found out about this, I really wanted to donate my cord blood to the NHS. I give blood, I'm an organ donor and as a parent, I would like to hope that if one of my children was taken ill, someone would've donated something that could save them. I can't afford to store my cord blood privately, and I personally feel that it being available to everyone is better than it only being available to me. My Grandmother died from Leukaemia and so this is something important to me.
Unfortunately, I am not within the catchment area (though if I still lived in Hertfordshire, I would be), so as it stands, this is sadly not an option for me but it might be for you! Please take a look at the website if you're interested!
Labels: donation, medical, pregnancy