About Cord Blood

Hi! Here is another excerpt from my little research on the placenta. I'll eventually manage to translate it all and put it on a PDF document. Getting there! But for today, let's talk about that cord blood.

Cord blood is the blood that travels through the cord between the placenta and the foetus. Actually, it all belongs to the baby. The blood travels from the baby to the placenta, gets all the nutrients and oxygen the baby needs, and then travels back to the baby, through the cord. But this blood is a little different from ''normal blood''. For one, it contains a lot of stem cells. Stem cells are cells that have the ability to become any kind of specialised cell, depending on what is needed. Nowadays, they are used in medecine to treat serious illnesses like leukemia and other forms of cancer. Many companies  offer a possibility, for future parents  (for a few thousand dollars) to take that cord blood upon the birth, and to deep freeze it in case the baby gets cancer later in life, and may need a cord blood transplant.

Some organisations also ask future parents to make a cord blood donation, to help a sick child. But the problem is that that blood isn't supposed to go away in the first place. It belongs to the newborn, and sometimes represent up to one third of it's total blood volume. By not cutting the cord right away we let all that blood go back to the baby for the best possible start in life. And why would we rob a newborn babe of this little welcome present, there to help protect him from these scary illnesses in the first place?

On a more personal note, I question the ethics of doing this. We wouldn't force an adult to give up one-third of his blood volume without his consent. It wouldn't be ethical, nor respectful. Then why do we consider it okay when a newborn baby is concerned?



What do you think? What are your thoughts on the cord blood issue?

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