Updated: Aug 22, 2018
This blog post serves as a link to Amanda Burleigh and I's introduction to umbilical cord blood banking (UCB) posted on All4Maternity last month. To read the full article please click the link at the end of this blog.
In the blog 'Natures first stem cell transfer occurs at birth' we opened up a conversation about UCB, which has been a much debated practice within maternity and obstetrics due to its clash with physiological transition of the newborn, heavy marketing tactics and financial rewards for those who facilitate large volume collection of newborn blood through immediate cord clamping for UCB.
Many parents looking at the benefits of new research about stem cell collection are oblivious to professional concerns. They are keen to explore the possibility of collecting these stem cells and storing them with an UCB company. The potential for the stem cells to be used at a future date, for regenerative therapy for conditions like arthritis, diabetes and heart disease (Roura et al., 2015).
We have highlighted concerns that UCB may jeopardise progress made to ensure the newborn receives its own blood transition from the placenta, facilitated through delayed (DCC) or optimal cord clamping (OCC). Therefore diminishing the baby of its own blood volume at birth. References for DCC/OCC here!
We suggest that healthcare professionals could better educate families about the risks of immediate cord clamping and help parents who are interested in UCB with questions to ask their UCB provider (to ensure they get DCC/OCC first). This way parents are able to make an informed decision about what is best for their baby at birth.