All you need to know about Cord Blood Banking
You may have heard about banking your baby’s cord blood. You may have been given a leaflet on it or heard other pregnant women discussing it. What are the benefits of cord blood banking and why do you need to know about it?
30 years ago, the first cord blood stem cell transplant took place to successfully treat a boy with the genetic condition, Fanconi’s Amaemia; he was given stem cells from his new-born sister. In 1992, the world’s first stem cell bank was set up in New York. Today, there have been over 35,000 transplants, treating over 80 conditions.
Storing your child’s stem cells will enable you to treat conditions your child – or even another family member – may suffer from in the future.
When they first started to study stem cells, scientists were fascinated to discover that the cells had the ability to transform themselves into virtually any type of cell in the body. They therefore had the potential to repair and maintain and cell in the body including blood vessels, organs and tissue. Doctors first started to have success with stem cells in the treatment of blood disorders, including sickle cell disease, also in immune disorders and certain cancers including leukaemia and lymphoma.
More recently, scientists have started to have successes that suggest that stem cells could soon be used to treat chronic diseases such as:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), stem cells have been shown to be effective in treating some of the range of conditions that come with the disorder. Autistic children often have problems with their immune system and have increased inflammation in the gut which can lead to a change in the brain’s structure. Stem cells are being tested to see if they can decrease this inflammation and reduce the symptoms of ASD.
The aim is to use stem cells to protect and repair damaged cells and to replace them before they are useless and before they can cause irreparable damage.
Banking your child’s cord blood
Because there are now so many applications for stem cell medicine and many more parents choosing to bank their baby’s cord blood, it is now easier than ever to bank yours.
Storing your child’s cord blood privately ensures that you have a trusted and secure way to store cells that might be vital for your child or a family member in the future and you also have complete ownership rights.