Dr. Rachel: Cord blood banking saves lives

NEW ORLEANS -- What is so great about cord blood banking?

According to our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel Reitan, the short answer is, because it saves lives.

When a baby is delivered and the umbilical cord is cut, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta is called the cord blood.  Cord blood is rich in blood stem cells.

These stem cells can be used in treating over 80 diseases such as leukemia`s, lymphomas, genetic anemias such as sickle cell disease and diseases of the immune system.

You have the option of donating cord blood to a public bank free of charge, if you give birth in one of the 23 states that has public donation.

Or you can pay a private company to store it in a private bank for use by only your family, if needed in the future.  This requires a collection fee as well as a storage fee.

If you live in a state that does not have a public bank, you can still donate your cord blood free of charge.  Cord for Life makes it so easy.
Just go to their website and click on public donation.

With this donation and the private donation, you need to sign up before the 34th week of pregnancy, so the necessary supplies can be sent to you.

Only a small percentage of families use their own cord blood.  Nearly all cord blood transplants come from public banks.

Cord donation is great because your baby could save the lives of others.

If you have any medical questions, send an email to drrachel@wgno.com.