Who would of thought that the blood inside of us could be used to treat disease and tissue regeneration? More specifically, cord blood, what is found inside of the umbilical cord. Stem cells are being extracted from this blood and being used in many restorative ways. One major issue with all of this is that mothers are just throwing the blood away when they give birth, most likely because they do not know any better. Therefore, July is Cord Blood Awareness Month, and it is important to spread the word on the benefits of cord blood, to encourage those expecting to either donate or save this precious resource!
Why it Matters
After a baby is born, and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, the blood that is left behind can be collected, and the stem cells extracted. (Source: ViacordBlog) “Today, stem cells are mainly used in the treatment of disease and tissue regeneration. They largely come from one of three sources –cord blood, bone marrow and peripheral blood. Coord blood stem cells are found in the blood of the umbilical cord.” (Source: American Health Council). The more women who are aware of these benefits before they give birth, the greater chance at saving a life.
To put things in better perspective: of the 4 million births in the US every year, over 90% of the stem cells in cord blood are thrown away as medical waste. (Source: CordBloodAwareness.org) What’s more, approximately 1 in 3 Americans could benefit from regenerative medicine that can be created from stem cells! (Source: CordBloodAwareness.org) But not a lot of people are aware of these facts, and that has to change.
It is important to stand up and help spread awareness about the benefits of cord blood and that expecting mothers are well aware of their options on how to donate or save it. Viacord offers mothers one options for their cord blood, and that is to put it in a private family bank in case of emergency or need. Viacord also helps donators have a backup plan for a stem cell transplant, as family members are more likely to be matched. As well as access to emerging treatments, such as those surrounding cerebral palsy and type 1 diabetes.
CoordBloodAwareness.org was created to help in the cause as well, and they work to raise awareness about the life-saving powers of umbilical cord blood stem cells. If expecting parents can be encouraged to either save or donate, then their mission is complete, and more lives can be saved! Organizations like Viacord and CordBloodAwareness.org are spreading awareness by providing resources and encouraging others to read, share, donate time and engage!