One of the most effective ways to protect the health of your child is to store its stem cells at birth. Being able to bank on precious stem cells when they are born could be a crucial step in the treatment or treatment of an unexpected disease they may face later in life. What better way to have peace of mind than to know that valuable stem cells that can help treat or cure potential diseases have been banked safely for a day when your child may need them.
Innovative and rapidly evolving umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy, which uses stem cells collected immediately after birth from the blood of the umbilical cord, was first used in the 1980s and is now part of the successful treatment of over 80 different diseases. Research on its uses is ongoing, leading to several exciting clinical developments, including ischaemic heart disease treatment and some neurological conditions. As scientists continue to unlock their medical potential, cord blood stem cells are likely to play a major role in our ability to treat human disease.
Stem cells are biological cells that can either remain a stem cell or transform into another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, red blood cell, or a brain cell, when they divide. Stem cells are the building blocks of blood and immune systems that act as a system for repairing and maintaining tissues, organs and blood vessels by multiplying and transforming them into other body cells, replacing cells that have been damaged in some way.
The process of cell collection takes place immediately after birth and for both mother and baby is painless and safe. The procedure is performed by a trained and licensed health care professional–a private obstetrician, physician, midwife or assigned phlebotomist (someone trained to take blood) at the hospital or birth center.
Once your baby is delivered safely, whether natural or via C-section, and the umbilical cord is clamped, it is wiped with antiseptic and a needle is inserted into one of the umbilical cord veins to remove blood. The collected umbilical cord blood is then transferred to the specialist laboratory or cord blood bank using special containers capable of maintaining the appropriate cord blood unit temperature and integrity.
In a process known as volume reduced processing before freezing, the red blood cells are then removed from the white blood cells. The cord blood is then cryopreserved for long-term storage if it meets quality standards. Depending on the quality of the cryopreservation process, the precious stem cells can be stored for many decades once frozen.
Once you take that life-changing step to start a family, it suddenly becomes a top priority to protect the health and well-being of your baby. The storage of stem cells from the umbilical cord of your newborn is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture a valuable resource that could turn out to be a life-saver in years to come. A simple, pain-free procedure of stem cell preservation can become be the most intelligent investment you’ve ever made.