The advancements of medicine and technology are saving lives each year
that would otherwise be lost to disease or medical disorder. Each year, more
more children are living through potentially terminal diseases and
battling their way back to health with help of cord blood. Cord blood is
found within the umbilical cord and preserved upon the birth of the child.
Since the blood contains stem cells, numerous diseases and disorders are
successfully treated and even cured through transplants. Parents today are
choosing to either bank cord blood for future use or donate their
newborn’s cord blood so that ill children can take advantage of this
An inspiring case is that of siblings Ashley and Kelvin J. of Maryland.
These two children were both born with severe combined immunodeficiency
syndrome that is usually terminal, since the body’s immune system cannot
fend off the germs that would otherwise be harmless to a healthy body.
Projected life span for children diagnosed with severe combined
immunodeficiency syndrome (SCIDS) is approximately six months; however, both
Ashley and Kelvin received a transplant of cord blood from anonymous donors
whose cord blood was donated to public blood banks.
Another story that shows the success of using cord blood to treat
potentially deadly diseases and disorders is that of brothers Blayke and
Garrett L. of Los Angeles. Born three years apart, both boys developed a
rare disorder known as lymphoproliferative disease. Blayke and Garrett’s
immune systems were unable to successfully fight off germs commonly found in
the world around them. Generally, at a very early age children diagnosed
with lymphoproliferative disease develop mononucleosis, a potentially fatal
disease that individuals with a working immune system commonly recover from.
Again, thanks to the donation of cord blood from an anonymous donor, both
boys are now living happy and healthy lives due to a blood transplant. If
this option was not available, the young brothers’ only hope would be a
painful and complicated bone marrow transplant that would not have had the
same success rate as the cord blood transplant.
In addition to children using donated cord blood to survive the odds, more
and more children are using their own cord blood to treat or cure diseases
or medical disorders. These diseases are disorders may be present before
birth or be developed after birth, but regardless the case, cord blood is an
excellent tool in the fight to preserve life. A recent study at Duke
University involved children diagnosed with Krabbe’s disease—a rare
genetic disorder that affects the brain and attacks cognitive and motor
functions. Twenty-five children diagnosed with Krabbe’s disease were
followed and studied regarding their treatments. For those children treated
with a cord blood transplant immediately after birth, 100 percent showed
positive development and survival, whereas 43 percent of children treated
with cord blood transplant after development of symptoms saw success.
These children are testament to the vitality of umbilical cord blood and
should inspire parents to not let this life-saving blood go to waste.
According to the informative Web site http://www.bankcordblood.info upon
delivery of the child, technicians must work quickly to ensure they preserve
the cord blood before it begins to clot and becomes useless. Whether you
choose to store your child’s cord blood in a private blood bank or donate
your child’s cord blood to a public blood bank so that it can potentially
save the life of an Ashley, Kelvin, Blayke, or Garrett in the country,
ensure that your child’s cord blood is used in the best possible manner.
More and more, hospitals around the country are developing a system to
ensure that all cord blood is either stored or donated—but not wasted.