Updated: May 20, 2020
If I had a million dollars for every time, I said that phrase; I’d be rich by now. You might be thinking the same thing. If I had known there was going to be a pandemic, I would have done things differently. I would have stocked up on groceries and essentials, saved more money, ate healthier food, exercised more, spent more time outdoors, and spent more time with family and friends. But in reality, I didn’t think about it, and it did happen, and now I am unprepared to deal with it.
Three years ago, I was bitten by a rattlesnake while stepping out of my parked car at my home. This time, I prepared. I had purchased a health insurance policy, had a car in good working order to get me to the hospital, had family close by, had friends to bring us dinner. After four days in the hospital, including ER and ICU, I was relieved to know that my family had food to eat and that I was only going to have to pay $1500 of a $134,000 hospital bill.
So, what does any of this have to do with Cord Blood banking, you ask? Like the pandemic and my rattlesnake bite, I never dreamed in a thousand years that anything could happen to my family, or me, the one who takes care of everyone and everything! All parents-to-be like you, hope for a healthy child and family. But have you ever thought about what would happen if your child came down with a debilitating disease years later? Would you be prepared? What options would you have that would treat or save your child? Would it be too late to try to find the best treatment possible? Would you be financially stable? These are all great questions, but why not plan now as you prepare for the birth of your newborn? You may plan for their future in college, but isn’t their future health just as important?
Every human being is born with cord blood that can save a life! No one knew until the early eighty’s that a newborn’s cord blood could save the life of a sick child or a family member. It could be preserved for your baby’s future use also. Before 1980, doctors would throw away the baby’s cord blood as they didn’t know the many benefits that cord blood had to offer. Luckily, over the last 20-30 years, much research has been done, and scientists and doctors have found up to 80+ health conditions and diseases that are approved by the FDA, and that can be cured and treated with cord blood stem cells. Today, there are 100+ active clinical trials using cord blood stem cells, and more than 500+ active clinical trials using cord tissue stem cells. That is exciting news!
So, what is so special about a newborn’s umbilical cord blood? Your baby’s umbilical cord forms around the 5th week of pregnancy. It can grow up to 20-Inches long by the 40th week. Cord blood contains not only red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets, but also powerful stem cells. Those cells are called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Just think, this cord blood contains the same stem cells that will help your baby grow. The umbilical cord is what connects your newborn baby to your placenta, allowing them to get vital oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. It also has artery veins that carry deoxygenated blood and waste products between your baby and your placenta. Cord tissue is simply the umbilical cord itself, and it also contains billions of powerful stem cells. Its cells are called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Therefore, the umbilical cord is your growing baby’s lifeline. It is not surprising that scientists and doctors saw the potential in using these stem cells to treat many disorders.
Once they knew that a baby’s cord blood and cord tissue had an abundant supply of blood-forming stem cells, health scientists and doctors had to determine how to use these valuable cells. Taking advantage of their previous knowledge of blood stem cells, they found out through clinical studies that cord blood stem cells could multiply 100 times their original number. Their research and studies then concluded that stem cells infused into patients treated a myriad of blood disorders and diseases. They found that cord blood stem cells could regenerate all of the components found within the blood systems in our bodies. They proved that stem cells found within the cord’s tissue had remarkable regenerative and healing properties also. Lastly, stem cells are a biological product regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This regulation ensures that cord blood and cord tissue are safe and effective for their intended use.
So, you can now see how powerful your baby’s umbilical cord is. It holds the cells of life for your growing baby, and it holds the cells of bringing someone back to life who may have an incurable disease. These mighty cells have proven to work in diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, immune deficiency, metabolic diseases, and genetic disorders of the blood system. They have the future potential to treat Alzheimer’s, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, cerebral palsy, and autism. You must keep in mind that cord blood and cord tissue is not a cure-all.
The process of collecting your baby’s cord blood is a safe and straightforward procedure. Neither you are your baby will experience any pain, and there is no risk involved. The procedure has to have your consent before you arrive at the hospital. After the birth of your child, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. The process of collecting the blood and tissue usually takes less than five minutes and is performed by a trained healthcare team. There is a set protocol for the collection and storage of your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue. There is no alteration in the normal birthing process.
Once the cord blood and cord tissue are collected, you will have already consented to have it delivered and stored by a cord blood bank of your choosing. You will have made the decision beforehand to store for private use or public use. While the initial decision may be easy for some and more difficult for others, StemCyte is here to take your hand and walk you through the decision-making process.
Join me next week as I continue our discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of public and private umbilical cord banking. In the coming weeks, we will be discussing the gift of hope for those needing life-saving transplants and the valuable investment in your family’s future health.