Benefits of Umbilical Cord Blood
The Hematopoietic stem cells found in cord blood can rebuild and replenish the body’s blood and immune systems. Other forms of cells that Hematopoietic stem cells can differentiate into include:
This ability has lead to their use in treating over 80 life-threatening diseases with the first cord blood transplant taking place in 1988.
Cord Blood: A Medical Resource
When you store your baby’s cord blood, you are storing an important medical resource. As of 2014, there have been over 1 million Hematopoietic stem cell transplants and 30,000 cord blood transplants performed worldwide, and that number is increasing every day.
A preferred source of stem cells.
Cord blood stem cells are incredibly easy to collect and cryogenically freeze. Alternative sources of stem cells, such as from bone marrow, require an invasive procedure whereas cord blood stem cells can be drawn from the cut umbilical cord in less than five minutes. Newborn stem cells are younger and more flexible than stem cells taken from an adult, which gives them better regenerative abilities.
Who Can Use Cord Blood Stem Cells?
Protecting baby’s health. A baby using his or her own cord blood will always be a 100% match for his or her own stem cells. However, sometimes families are unable to collect cord blood from the first child, and some diseases are genetic, making using one’s own cord blood inept.
Siblings looking out for each other. In those situations, a cord blood transplant from a donor, such as a sibling, may be required, and there is a higher chance of survival when using stem cells from a related donor. Siblings or other family members that are a close enough HLA match can benefit from the cord blood. There is a 25% chance that a sibling will be a perfect HLA match, a 50% chance that they will be a partial match, and a 25% chance that they will be no match at all. Banking multiple children’s cord blood increases the chance that cord blood will be a match in case a transplant is required.
Future Uses in Medicine
The unique properties of cord blood stem cells means that they can potentially treat even more diseases. Some of the diseases being investigated include:
- Autism (1 in 88 children are diagnosed with Autism in the United States)
- Brain Injury (564,000 children treated for brain injuries in the emergency room)
- Cerebral Palsy (A leading cause of childhood onset disability)
- Type 1 Diabetes (15,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes every year)
Saving your baby’s cord blood ensures the current and future benefits for your family.