What Do I Need To Know About Cord Blood Banking?
Are your baby’s stem cells worth keeping?
Many people are unaware that the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells that can be stored at birth, and used in the future to treat various medical conditions such as blood cancers and immune disorders.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the biological building blocks of life. They are the first cells to form in the embryo, which then change or differentiate to form blood, tissue and organs that make up the human body. Stem cells also repair and regenerate cells in the body as we grow, they continually heal and replace old cells and tissue with new cells.
What can cord blood stem cells be used for today?
Cord blood contains stem cells called Haematopoietic Stem Cells or HSC’s. These stem cells can be used for transplantation, like a bone marrow transplant, to treat conditions such as leukaemia, lymphoma and other immunodeficiencies and blood disorders. In fact, there are more than 80 conditions approved for stem cell treatment today with 35,000 cord blood stem cell transplants conducted since 1988.
What about cord tissue?
The umbilical cord tissue has a rich source of stem cells called Mesenchymal Stem Cells or MSC’s. These stem cells form tissue, organs and have regenerative abilities to repair damaged cells. Currently there are over 80 clinical trials being conducted exploring the potential use of MSC’s to treat a variety of conditions such as;
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Connective tissue disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Aplastic anaemia
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Myocardial infarction
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cartilage repair
- Ovarian failure
- Liver failure
- Cerebral palsy
- Lung injury
- Traumatic optic neuropathy
- Erectile dysfunction
- Macular degeneration
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Ulcerative colitis
How do I store cord blood and tissue?
You can store your baby’s cord blood either via a public cord blood bank, which is free, however these are not available at every hospital and the cord blood is used for everyone rather then just your family. This means it is put onto a global register and can be used by any matching recipient worldwide. Public banks only collect at limited hospitals within Australia and only during restricted hours. They do not store tissue and should you need access to your stored cord blood there are no guarantees that it will be available.
You can choose to store your cord blood and tissue with a private cord blood bank which means that the cord blood and tissue are stored solely for use by you, your baby or a matched family member when you need it. Estimate prices for cord blood banking is $3000 – $5000 depending if you want tissue stored also.
If you are wanting to learn more about cord blood banking check out the link below.
Written by Cyrosite
(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).