“Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord following the birth of your baby. It is rich in blood stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow, and these can be used to treat many different cancers, immune deficiencies and genetic disorders.” Source: NHS at https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cord-blood-bank/what-is-cord-blood/.
July 2021 marks Cord Blood Awareness Month. So why does cord blood deserve an awareness month? It matters because cord blood banking still isn’t mainstream, but we all need to know how to help secure the future health of our children, from birth to old age. More parents deserve to understand the many benefits of collecting and safely storing their new born baby’s cord blood, and a month-long event to publicise the magic is the perfect way to spread the good news.
What is Cord Blood Awareness Month?
Awareness days, weeks and months are all about spreading innovations to more people, and Cord Blood Awareness Month involves telling an incredibly special story. Since the first transplant in 1988, scientists have discovered numerous uses for the stem cells in cord blood. It is so much easier to extract them from cord blood than it is from someone’s bone marrow, which is an often painful and always invasive process that usually takes place under a general anaesthetic.
Does the NHS collect cord blood?
Here in the UK the NHS’ Cord Blood Bank has been collecting and banking donated umbilical cord blood since 1996. The blood is stored for anyone who needs it rather than specifically saved for the family it was collected from.
Giving the gifts of health and life
If your child develops a condition that’s treatable using their own cord stem cells taken from their cord blood as a newborn, it could save their life. Can you think of a better present to give your child than the gift of life, the gift of a healthy future? No wonder so many cord blood charity organisations and other respected groups celebrate Cord Blood Awareness Month.
What is the history of cord blood stem cell therapies?
Stem cells in umbilical cord blood were first discovered in 1974. Fewer than ten years later Dr. Hal Broxmeyer and his team suggested collecting Hematopoietic stem cells from umbilical cord blood for use in transplants, previously collected from bone marrow. 1988 saw the first successful cord blood transplant, involving a six year old boy suffering from the Fanconi’s Anemia blood disorder.
These days cord blood is widely used to treat a growing list of more than 80 diseases and conditions including life threatening cancers, blood disorders, immune system problems and more. And there are exciting new developments in the pipeline around regenerative medicine, too.
Which organisations celebrate Cord Blood Awareness Month?
It happens all over the world. Respected cord blood charity and other organisations celebrating international Cord Blood Awareness Month include:
- The NHS Cord Blood Bank
- Parents Guide to Cord Blood
- Americord Registry
Celebrate everything that’s great about cord blood awareness
If you’re interested in storing cord blood and cells, there’s lots more information on our website. You can also get in touch to ask questions if you like, we’ll always give you a warm welcome.
Parents Guide To Cord Blood – Family Cord Blood Banking in United Kingdon at https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/family-banking/united-kingdom
Made for Mums – A Guide to cord blood and cord blood collection at https://www.madeformums.com/pregnancy/a-guide-to-cord-blood-and-cord-blood-collection/
Anthony Nolan – Cord Blood Programme at https://www.anthonynolan.org/clinicians-and-researchers/transplant-and-laboratory-services/cord-blood-programme
NHS Cord Blood bank – Cord Blood Donation at https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cord-blood-bank/
Medify – Celebrate Cord Blood Awareness Month at https://www.medify.co.uk/blog/cord-blood-awareness-month
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.