All About Stem Cell Preservation


All About Stem Cell Preservation


When I was pregnant my doctor suggested me to opt for stem cell preservation considering the fact that I have PCOS and a family history of diabetes from both sides. The minute he suggested this I panicked thinking, “Is there anything wrong with the baby and he doesn’t want to tell me?” Well, that was not the case; it was just a healthy suggestion from his side. So, according to his suggestion I started my research and finalized on a few of the banks that provided this facility. But, fate had its own plans so amidst all the scare of pre-term delivery and a death scare I couldn’t preserve my baby’s stem cells. Now, since a lot of maternity clinics are suggesting for cord blood banking, I thought I would share my knowledge with all of you.



What is Cord Blood Banking or Stem Cell Preservation?

Cord blood banking is nothing but collecting the blood from the placenta and the umbilical cord after the birth of your baby and storing it in a bank for future use. The blood collected here is rich in stem cells and can be used to treat some life threatening diseases. The stem cells are typically preserved for duration of 21 years and can be renewed if needed.

Does it involve some tedious procedure?

If you are wondering whether you would have to go through another operation or some other tedious procedure for it, then put your worries aside. It’s a very simple procedure and neither you nor your baby would have to go through anything while this is being done. The cord blood would be collected at the time of birth and sent to the cord blood bank where it would be tested, processed and frozen for future uses. The whole process of extracting blood would take less than ten minutes.

How would this process be beneficial to my baby and me?

The cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, you can call them mother cells as they have the ability to divide and grow into any type of cell. The stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood are mainly hematopoietic stem cells capable of forming red blood cells and cells of the immune system. This means they can be used to treat a wide range of disorders like leukemia, sickle cell anemia, lymphoma, thalassemia, immune deficiency diseases and metabolic storage disorders.

Can the stored stem cells be used for siblings or others in the family?

The stem cells collected at the time of your child’s birth would be a perfect match for him/her. And in case it’s required by one of his/her siblings, there’s a 25% chance of it matching with your child’s. If it matches it can also be used for his/her parents or grandparents.

Will it be useful even after years of storage?

You might think it would not be. But, cryopreservation ensures that your child’s stem cells are as potent as they were during the time collection. Under intense freezing conditions they remain fresh with practically no expiration date. So, it can be used even after two long decades of storage.

Who should consider for stem cell preservation?

If you have the money then you should definitely consider preserving your baby’s stem cells. You should consider this more seriously if you have a family history of specific illnesses like blood cancer and immune disorders. It would even lower down your treatment costs to a great extent as well as save a lot of time in case your child is suffering from a life threatening illness. In future, there are high chances that many more diseases would become treatable with the help of these stem cells.

What are the choices if you decide to bank your baby’s cord blood?

A few years ago, cord blood banking was known only to a few but things have changed now. If you are planning for banking, then you can either store the stem cells in a public donor bank or a private bank. If you choose to donate the cord blood of your baby to a public bank it can be used by many and if you want to store the cord blood in a private bank it can be used only by you or your family members. The expense of storing in a private bank is pretty high.

It’s only you who can decide whether storing your baby’s cord blood cells is right for you or not. If your family has a history of diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia then you should definitely consider preserving your baby’s stem cells. I would suggest you to weigh all your options well in advance and make the bookings as early as you can. Find out about the charges in different banks and give your baby and thousands of other unfortunate ones the gift of life!

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