The birth of your child presents a one-time opportunity to help your family by collecting and storing your child's cord blood. That's because cord blood contains stem cells that could one day save the life of your child or of one of your child's siblings. Unlike embryonic cell cells, cord blood cells do not involve the destruction of an embryo.
Harvesting stem cells from a baby's umbilical cord blood poses no risk to mother or the child.
Why are stem cells so amazing? Cell Stems are so powerful because they have the amazing ability to transform and grow into other types of cells - such as blood cells or bone cells. The breakthroughs in stem cell research are some of the most important in medical history and represent a real chance to fight diseases long thought untreatable. The list of diseases that stem cells are capable of fighting continues to grow. Diseases from leukemia, heart and cardiovascular disease to brain and nervous system damage from strokes can be treated and sometimes reversed with the help of stem cells.
Transplant patients also have a much better chance of recovery when they receive stem cells taken from themselves or from a related donor.
Scientists are also very excited about advances in regenerative medicine which allows medicine to repair the body with the patient's own stem cells. When these advances are realized, children whose parents saved their cord blood will be in a much better position to benefit.
How Collection Works: Months prior to their due date, parents can contact a Cord Blood Bank and the bank will mail them a collection kit. The bank also sends collection instructions to the physician monitoring the pregnancy. After the birth, when the umbilical cord is cut, the blood left in the cord and placenta is drained into a storage bag. This process can also be performed in a c-section birth. A day or so later, the blood is sent via medical courier to the collecting bank and the stem cells are harvested and placed in a deep freeze for permanent storage until needed.
Choosing the Right Bank: Deciding to bank your baby's cord blood is a big decision and requires some research. There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a storage facility:
Does the company have their own storage facility, or are they simply a middle man, collecting for another storage company?
Have they had samples used? Surprisingly, many cord blood storage companies have never had a sample taken from their stock. Track record is important.
Is the facility public or private?
Public Banks - cord blood from anonymous donors goes to help unrelated patients
Private/Family Banks - the child whose cord blood is banked may use it for themselves or a close family member (usually a sibling)
Cord Blood banking is a safe, non-invasive way to provide these life-giving cells to your child, your family or those in need. It is like a powerful health insurance policy for your family.