If you want to protect your child’s healthy future with umbilical cord blood banking, you may also want to consider collecting the placental blood. The placenta is the organ (about the size of a fist) that houses nutrients for a growing fetus. These nutrients include blood rich in stem cells, which are passed to the child through the umbilical cord. Most cord blood banking procedures harvest blood only from the umbilical cord after the baby is safely delivered and the umbilical cord is cut, however, many programs are also now harvesting blood from the placenta after the birth.
Why Collect Placenta Blood?
This is because researchers have found that the placenta is rich in CD34+ stem cells, which are considered the most important in ensuring a successful stem cell transplant. Storing the placental blood is incredibly valuable if you have multiple children, since you’ll have access to a much higher concentration of prenatal stem cells. This is highly recommended if you already have a child who is afflicted with one of the 80 blood or immune-related disorders that can be treated with stem cell transplants.
The process of collecting placental blood is slightly different from umbilical cord blood. While cord blood can be collected directly at the hospital and either processed or stored whole, the placenta must be sent to a lab to be processed, since its contents are more complex and delicate. Because the collection process is different, only some cord blood banking companies currently offer this option, so you’ll want to request this service specifically when choosing a company. Compare and review our table of cord blood companies to see which banks offer placenta banking.
Stem Cell Confusion
Placental blood is not to be confused as a source of embryonic stem cells, which are a highly controversial subject in the media. While embryonic stem cells are collected from a mother’s uterus while the fertilized egg is newly forming, placental blood stem cells are only collected after the child is born and the placenta has detached from the uterine wall. Thus, this is a non-invasive and completely safe procedure.