Transplants with cord blood donations are now widely used as an alternative to bone marrow transplant. Some of these cases include patients with severe aplastic anemia or leukemia. To date globally, around 6,000 cord blood transplants have been conducted successfully. Particularly in the United States, physicians handling this type of case commonly know this type of transplant.
If you want to consider this option, communicate with the transplant physician who would determine whether bone marrow or cord blood would be best. He would also determine the most suitable unit from the cord blood bank.
To give you further information about cord blood banks, refer to the bullet list below.
- A cord blood or umbilical cord bank stores umbilical cord blood (umbilical cord storage, or stem cell storage or preservation) for private or public use. The local medical community supports this system.
- Parents may choose to have the cord blood stored privately or donated to the public after the birth of their baby. They may opt to save it and store it privately if they think they would need it in the future, especially if they have a history of such need. There are certain costs though, such as storage and collecting the cord blood itself. Public donations (umbilical cord donations) are simply donations for other people's use.
- The National Cord blood Center's Program governs stem cell transplant for adults and children coming from unrelated donors.
- NCBP already has standard policies and protocols, established since 1996, for handling transplants using cord blood.
- Note that despite these policies, protocols and successful implementation of the program, this procedure is still considered to be in the ‘experimental stage' from the perspective of the regulatory body of medicine, hence, all transplants are considered human research cases.
You can visit the website of the National Cord Blood Program for timely and accurate information about donation and transplants. You can also get technical information (e.g. stem cells, cryocell) and learn the advantages and disadvantages of cord blood transplant. They also offer news about the current developments of this program. You can also get information about possible matching of cord blood available during your visit to the website. Success stories are also there to give encouragement to parents looking at cord blood transplant as an option.
With fast-developing technology in medicine, more and more solutions are developing as alternatives to more familiar systems. The developments offer more hope to individuals seeking treatment. Make sure you discuss with your physician all the alternatives available, so you can decide which procedure to adopt. For life-threatening cases such as these, all available options should be studied carefully.
It is important that you understand all the procedures and underlying implications of alternatives such as these. Make sure all studies and controversies about this system (as there have been issues with cord blood transplants before) are known to you so you can make informed decisions. While your physician ultimately knows what's best, decisions relating to health should be clearly communicated.