I mentioned here that I didn't think much about the mechanics of becoming a mother the first time around. And I also mentioned that I probably wouldn't change that much about my experience. One thing I would change, though, if i had the opportunity for a do-over is I would have donated every one of my babies' cord blood.
Umbilical Cord blood is rich in adult stem cells that can be used for cures. There is a documented successful treatment of Cerebral Palsy with Umbilical Cord Blood. And there is an official Cure of Leukemia using Umbilical Cord blood.
I first heard about Umbilical Cord Donation in 2005. I fully intended to donate Helen's Umbilical Cord blood. When I inquired when I was 33 weeks pregnant, I found out I was too late. The paperwork needed to be submitted by 28 weeks at the time. I was very sad.
When pregnant with Dominic, I got on it and got my paperwork in by the deadline (which was now 32 weeks). When Dominic was born it took only a minute or two for my doctor to collect the Umbilical Cord Blood and we called the courier to come and get it. I was so happy that we did that.
I'm a big proponent of Umbilical Cord Blood donation. However, there is the opportunity for people to bank their children's Umbilical Cord Blood for use later. It wasn't something I ever considered, but it is an alternative. It's pretty pricey. I would imagine it is very beneficial should your child or his sibling be diagnosed with a disease. However, it's risky because you could pay all sorts of money to bank your child's Umbilical Cord Blood only to find out it's not a match should you need it for your child or a sibling. Then you are still in the same boat as if you hadn't paid the money to bank it.
This is why I'm big on the Donation aspect. There's no guarantee if you pay a lot of money to bank your baby's Umbilical Cord blood that you will need it or it will meet your need. But if you donate it, it could meet the needs of someone else. And what a blessing!
Donating Umbilical Cord Blood requires a lot of paperwork. We have gone through Cryobanks Intl. We fill out their donation paperwork (and...no lie, it's extensive) and I have my doctor fill out and sign his part and send it off. They mail you a collection kit with instructions on how to notify them that you're going into labor and they work with couriers to come to the hospital within an hour or two of collection and obtain the donation and get it to their network in time to be stored. And none of this costs you anything!
It is amazing when I think about it that cures for some terrible diseases could come from something as simple as the blood that runs through the Umbilical Cord while the baby is growing in his mother's womb! Isn't that just like God, though? To provide for us in the most simple, and humble place, the powerful thing which we need? And the best part of all is that no one is giving up life to provide this powerful thing (the way embryos are sacrificed for Embryonic Stem Cell Research). In a very real way, LIFE is affirmed for us through the cures obtained with the use of donated Umbilical Cord blood.
If you're still of child-bearing age and you have another child, I highly encourage you to look into Umbilical Cord Blood donation. It's some paperwork and a little inconvenience, but if it's not donated, it's simply discarded in the "clean up" after the birth of your baby. And there are so many rich, useful adult stem cells in the blood, it seems quite a shame to waste it.