Umbilical cord blood contains a large quantity of “stem cells”. These cells have the ability to multiply and differentiate in order to regenerate different tissues and organs. Unlike the stem cells found elsewhere, the ones in the umbilical cord are younger and more immature, which implies that their multiplying capacity is higher.
If one has their own stem cells stored, it means that they possess absolute histological compatibility in case they are ever needed to be used in the future.
Collection of cord blood takes place simply and painlessly during labour. Once the child has been born and after the umbilical cord section, a simple puncture of the cord is carried out while the placenta has not yet become detached and is still in the uterus.
Nowadays many illnesses can be treated using these cells, especially haematological ones; leukaemia, myeloma, anaemia, etc. However, all the hopes is on new research in regenerative medicine which will allow treatments of the immune system and therapies against cancer.
Today there are public umbilical cord banks where cords are donated altruistically, for universal and anonymous use. Recently, private cord banks have been created in Spain which is the only way that a patient could have future access to their own sample.