When Cells 4 Life got in touch with me wanting to share their work, I admit I knew very little about cord blood banking. So I decided to invite them to tell us all more about it…..
Every year in the UK 800,000 babies are born and with them there is the potential to bank 800,000 cord blood units. With one study predicting that 1 in 3 people could benefit from regenerative therapies (using your own cells to repair your body) in the future you might imagine that the UK would bank most of its cord blood. However, many families are simply unaware of what cord blood is and what it can do. As a result less than 1% of the UK’s cord blood is stored. By raising the profile of cord blood banking, more families can have the opportunity to make an informed choice about their baby’s cord blood.
What is cord blood?
Cord blood is the blood found in the umbilical cord and it is incredibly rich in stem cells. In fact not only is cord blood the least invasive source of stem cells from the human body but it is the richest.
What can cord blood be used for?
Currently cord blood stem cells are used as an approved therapy in the treatment of over 80 serious illnesses including metabolic conditions, blood disorders and cancers. In addition to these current therapies, there is great promise for the development of future therapies. Today there are over 5,000 clinical trials investigating the application of stem cells, many of these are in regenerative medicine.
Regenerative medicine use a patient’s own stem cells to repair or replace damaged and diseased tissues. Some of the clinical trials being undertaken today use stem cells to treat illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, stroke, injuries, and more. Cord blood has even been used in clinical trials to treat cerebral palsy, yielding very exciting results.
Why should I bank cord blood?
Clinical trials can take many years to become approved therapies. While no one likes to think of their baby being poorly, cord blood banking can offer them access to approved and emerging therapies for many serious illnesses should they ever need it. Many parents who store their child’s cord blood view it as an insurance policy, something they hope to never need.
The stem cells in your baby’s umbilical cord blood are a perfect match for your baby. That means that should your baby ever need a therapy using their own stem cells, they are ready and waiting for them. Additionally, your baby’s cord blood could be a match to blood relatives and even has a 1 in 4 chance of being a match to a sibling.
Is cord blood collection safe?
Yes. The cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord which remains attached to the placenta after the cord has been cut. It is a completely safe and painless procedure for both mother and baby. This cord blood would otherwise be discarded.
Do I have to have extra people in the delivery room as I give birth?
No. The placenta is taken away for the cord blood to be collected, allowing you to get to know your new baby in peace.
I can’t bank my baby’s cord blood because….
Actually cord blood banking is completely compatible with a range of births; hospital births, home births, c sections, multiple births, water births, hypno-births, even births where the mother wishes to delay cord clamping.
If you would like to know more about storing your baby’s cord blood visit Cells4Life, the UK’s leading cord blood bank.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post