What is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is the blood that is left behind in the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby is born and the umbilical cord has been cut. If not collected and stored, this blood is discarded.
The cord blood is rich in blood stem cells which are the building blocks of all blood cells in the body. Blood cells carry oxygen, fight infection and stop bleeding. Blood stem cells are not the same cells that are used for cloning. Cord blood can be frozen and stored for over 20 years without loss of potency of these blood stem cells.
Cord blood is an alternative source of blood stem cells to bone marrow, both of which are used as curative treatment for many otherwise fatal diseases (most commonly leukemias and lymphomas). The problem is, around 30% of patients needing a bone marrow transplant are unable to find a compatible donor. However, when using cord blood, over 90% of patients are able to find a suitable cord blood for transplant.