How to preserve umbilical cord?

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Umbilical cords can be stored in sterile containers for future use. Cord blood and tissue can be stored separately. The ideal temperature for storage is around -249 degrees Fahrenheit. Private storage is expensive, but donation is free and can be used for stem cell research.

An umbilical cord that will be stored must first be cut from a newborn. Ideally, this should be done as soon as possible, and then the lead should be stored in a sterile container before being transported to a laboratory. Sometimes the entire umbilical cord is kept, but other times only a piece of the cord is kept. Cord blood and the gel surrounding the cord arteries can also be stored separately. Parents can choose to keep their child’s cord in a private bank for personal use or donate it to a public bank.

The decision to use cord storage facilities should be made before a baby is born, so that doctors and nurses can be prepared. A cord intended for storage should be cut almost immediately after delivery. This ensures that more blood remains in the umbilical cord.

After the cord has been clamped and cut, the cord blood is sometimes removed. This can be done with a syringe or the blood can be drained into a sterile container. This is usually done before the blood and tissue samples are transported to a cord storage facility.

If the parents choose to save the umbilical tissue as well, it is also placed in a sterile container. A preservative is also added to the container. Sections of approximately 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 centimeters) can be retained in the umbilical cord.

Umbilical cord tissue must be quickly labeled and transported to a laboratory for processing, as the tissue can become unusable after a relatively long period of time. Most experts agree that umbilical tissue should be processed within a day or two. During this time, the fabric is stored in a very cold compartment to help preserve it.

Various components can be extracted from the umbilical cord during processing, including residual blood. The gel that surrounds the arteries in the umbilical cords, known as Wharton’s jelly, can also be removed. This gel-like substance is actually a type of connective tissue and is rich in stem cells.
Extremely cold temperatures are required for umbilical cord preservation. Most experts agree that the ideal temperature for umbilical cord storage is around -249 degrees Fahrenheit (-156 degrees Celsius). These extreme temperatures are usually maintained with liquid nitrogen or nitrogen vapor.

Liquid nitrogen is capable of preserving umbilical cords at a temperature of approximately -310 degrees Fahrenheit (-190 degrees Celsius), and the tissue is placed in a metal container before being immersed in the liquid. Some experts, however, believe there is the possibility of bacterial contamination when using liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen vapor can also be used in umbilical cord preservation and maintains a temperature of approximately -202 degrees Fahrenheit (-130 degrees Celsius). A downside to this storage method is that temperatures can vary.
Using a private bank for umbilical cord storage can be very expensive. Individuals with privately stored umbilical cords, however, will have access to perfectly matched stem cells in the future. Individuals who cannot afford to pay for private storage but do not want their children’s umbilical cords to be medical waste can donate a umbilical cord. This is free and the cord blood and tissue can be used for stem cell research.

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