Our today topic is Umbilical cord blood donation.We will talk about Umbilical cord blood donation.What is umbilical cord blood donation?
What is umbilical cord blood donation?
When the umbilical cord is cut at delivery, it contains blood that is particularly rich in stem cells. This is called umbilical cord blood.
If the parents have agreed, this blood is collected using a simple procedure. The cells thus obtained can then be used to treat several serious diseases.
Umbilical cord blood collection is safe for the mother and newborn. If it were not removed, the cord blood would be thrown away with the biological waste, just like the placenta .
What are the stem cells used for cord blood?
Stem cells are the “mother” cells from which all the elements of the blood are formed : red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. At the time of a cord blood donation, only the white blood cells are preserved, because it is among them that there are the stem cells, the only cells able to reconstitute the whole of the immune system .
Stem cells are normally produced by the bone marrow. Some diseases (eg, leukemia or a genetic defect) or some medical treatments may have the side effect of destroying the bone marrow or hindering its proper functioning. The production of blood cells is then compromised, which can put the life of the sick person at risk. Physicians must replace the marrow with a stem cell transplant.
It is possible to use bone marrow transplants because it is also rich in stem cells. However, to receive a bone marrow transplant, you need to find a compatible donor, usually a related donor. Unfortunately, there is only a 25% chance of finding a compatible donor in the family of the sick person. In addition, as families are becoming smaller in Quebec, this further reduces the likelihood of finding a related donor.
There is also an international registry of unrelated stem cell donors. The probability of finding a compatible donor in less than 6 months ranges from 10 to 60%. In certain medical conditions, cord blood is therefore an interesting alternative for obtaining compatible stem cells.
Umbilical cord blood donation
The benefits of cord blood
The stem cells contained in the cord blood have a high plasticity and adapt more easily to the recipient than those from the bone marrow. It is therefore not necessary to have such a strict compatibility to perform the transplant. Indeed, to evaluate the compatibility of a bone marrow donor, it is necessary to compare 10 specific genes while the compatibility of the cord blood is compared to only 6 specific genes. It is therefore much more common to find a compatible donor from a cord blood bank.
To facilitate the search for compatible donors, the cord blood bank must consist of samples of a wide ethnic diversity. This is why donations from all cultural communities are welcome. In addition, cord blood from infants born to two parents of different origins (eg, an African father and an Asian mother or an Aboriginal mother and a Caucasian father) is particularly sought after.
However, few stem cells can be collected in the cord blood. This treatment option is for people weighing less than 50 kg (110 lbs), that is, mostly children. Ongoing research shows, however, that transplants can be done in adults by simultaneously injecting 2 units of cord blood.
Much progress has been made since the first cord blood transplant in 1988. At Hôpital Sainte-Justine, this form of therapy is used about 30 times a year, with excellent results. Cord blood is mainly used for cases of leukemia, certain immune deficiency and some forms of anemia. In addition, over the years, there are new applications for cord blood in the treatment of diseases.
Umbilical cord blood donation
How to make a donation?
In the province, 8 hospitals offer the possibility for expectant mothers to register at the public cord blood bank:
To donate cord blood, interested mothers must meet certain criteria. They must be healthy and over 18 years old. They should not be pregnant with twins.
A nurse communicates with registered mothers to complete a qualification form from the 25 th week of pregnancy.
How is the cord blood collected?
The donation of cord blood is a simple procedure. At birth, when the umbilical cord is cut, and before the placenta is expelled, up to about 150 ml of blood can be collected through the umbilical vein with a needle.
The blood is then analyzed. If the tests do not preserve the blood in the public bank (for example, if a unit of cord blood contains too few cells), it can be used for research in some university hospitals.
The blood is processed and frozen in liquid nitrogen. It can be stored for at least 10 years. All children in Quebec can then benefit from a cord blood transplant, if any, whether they have been donors or not.
Cord blood donation and late clamping
Studies in recent years indicate that it is beneficial for the baby to wait at least one minute after birth to cut the cord. The infant would then have a higher birth weight, a higher concentration of hemoglobin and better iron stores at 6 months of age.
Although late clamping can reduce the volume of blood collected, this practice is not a barrier to donation. Indeed, in some cases, the volume of cord blood is greater than we think. Therefore, even if the clamping is done later, there will be enough cells.
In addition, the well-being of the child always has priority over the donation of cord blood. Therefore, if late clamping is important for the parents, they should mention it to their doctor who will then wait to clamper the cord and will take the sample later. The donation will then be sent to them, which will determine if there are enough cells to be banked.
Choose a public or private bank?
When a donation is made to a public bank stem cells are accessible to everyone, as when donating blood. Several private companies also offer such a service for a few thousand dollars.
The peculiarity of a private bank is that the stem cells of your infant will be for its exclusive use. The interests of private companies are above all lucrative, they present their services as a unique chance to save the life of your child, in case he is afflicted with a serious illness.
It may be attractive to keep, in a private bank, one’s own blood, which is always compatible for personal use. Despite the fact that the conditions under which blood has been treated are controlled in the vast majority of private banks, it is the parents, however, who are responsible for sending the blood collected to the company themselves. This could cause problems with the specimen collection kit before delivery or after collection. It could also increase the potential risks of poor blood storage.
In addition, cord blood can only be stored for about 10 years. The possibilities of using it range from 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 200,000. The experts therefore suggest that the donation of cord blood be preferred to a public bank, which is free of charge for the donor.
Umbilical cord blood donation is safe for the mother and the newborn.
It is possible to donate cord blood even if you want to wait at least a minute before cutting the cord (late clamping).
At the moment, cord blood is mainly used for cases of leukemia, certain immune deficiency and certain forms of anemia. Through research, however, new applications for cord blood in the treatment of diseases are being discovered.