Why your child’s umbilical cord blood could one day prove a lifesaver?
Learn why cord blood and cord tissue banking are so valuable to your family if you're expecting a baby right now, have plans to in the future, or know a loved one who is.
To go over the fundamentals and ease us into the world of stem cell banking, we've teamed up with Future Health Biobank for over 5 years as they are one of the leading stem cell banks in the world.
To begin with, what makes your baby’s umbilical cord so special?
While your baby is in the womb, the umbilical cord transports vital oxygen, nutrients, and antibodies to help them grow. Your umbilical cord blood and tissue are rich in stem cells that have amazing therapeutic benefits.
A baby's umbilical cord is filled with blood from the placenta. This is called cord blood and is full of stem cells called haemopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The cord tissue also contains a stem cells, albeit a different type called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
Why are stem cells referred to as the building blocks of life?
Stem cells play a vital role in the function of our bodies. They have the ability to divide and transform into a wide variety of other cells, in a process called ‘differentiation’. When stem cells differentiate, they help to develop, repair and maintain function within blood, muscle, bone, organs, skin and other tissues in the human body.
How many stem cell samples have been used in treatments?
The ability to transform into specialised cells allows umbilical cord blood stem cells to be used in treatments for around 85 potentially life-threatening conditions including some blood cancers and anaemias.
The first successful transplant using cord blood took place in 1988 and since then over 40,000 cord blood transplants have since taken place across the world. Future Health Group has released more than 300 samples of cord blood, cord tissue, dental pulp, adipose tissue and peripheral blood, including returning more than 180 stored samples to the NHS and UK private hospitals.
Why do parents store stem cells?
Each family has its own reason for this. Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition or family history of an illness. For some, it's like having their own biological life insurance policy.
These stem cells are a 100% HLA match to the child they are collected from, and offer a 25% match to their siblings. Stem cells with a close HLA match have a much higher likelihood of transplant success and carry a lower risk of rejection in the patient.
What's the process for families who want to store their baby's cells?
The stem cells are collected shortly after birth, the process is non-invasive and available with all types of birth and alongside delayed cord clamping.
Future Health Biobank provides you with a highly specialised collection kit which you take to the hospital. Your designated phlebotomist will collect the cord blood and tissue after you've given birth. They have a dedicated courier service that will pick up your collection kit and transport it to Future Health's laboratory where the team of scientists get to work to preserve your precious cells.
If you're interested in cord blood banking for your baby, contact Future Health Biobank's customer care team on 0115 967 7707 or visit their website.
Don’t forget to mention Arrowe Park Hospital to receive a 10% discount.