storing new born stem cells

Cord blood cells show better chances of matching family members’ genetic type than stem cells retrieved from bone marrow. Researchers have established that parents and siblings both carry 25% more chances of match with the cord blood cells of newborns. Furthermore, the importance of the therapeutic benefits found in cord blood cells is being severely felt in treating various malignancies, immune diseases, metabolic disorders. Benefits are still emerging through scientific breakthroughs and are awakening more parents to consider storing stem cells in a cord blood banking facility especially when it is also harmless and painless!

Why Do You Need To Preserve Your Newborns’ Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells?

Cord blood stem cells in umbilical cord of the placenta are found to be enriched with hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are the progenitor cells which, unlike embryonic stem cells, can develop into any type of human cells. These progenitor cells are capable of forming cells ranging from red blood cells, white blood cells to platelets, therefore, they can be used in treating diseases of immune and blood system. As of now, more than 70 diseases can be treated by the stem cells extracted from the umbilical cord. Some of the diseases are leukemia, Fanconi Anemia, Krabbe disease, etc. By storing stem cells from your baby’s cord blood, you are actually saving your child from the dangers of waiting for matching donors during emergencies.

How Is Umbilical Cord Blood Collected?

The process of collecting cord blood cells entail no danger and can be done before and after delivery of the placenta. Cord blood collection before the placea delivered is termed ‘in utero’ and after delivery is ‘ex utero’. Apart from differences in medical terminology, these two collection methods do not differ in actual process. As the umbilical cord blood cells are collected as soon as the cords are clamped and cut off, risks and pains for both mother and child is considered zero. These two cord blood cell collection processes ensure no risk in caesarean as well as vaginal deliveries.

Cord Blood Preservation

After collection, the samples are transferred to the cord blood bank labs to be processing and cryopreserving. The blood is tested for diseases like sickle cell anemia, malaria, and AIDS. The cord blood processing steps mainly include separation and removal of the red blood cells. The temperature of the cord blood unit is slowly reduced in order to avoid shock. When the unit containing umbilical stem cells releases its temperature and drops to minus 90 degree Celsius, it is stored in special freezers for cord blood storage. It is interesting to note that the cord blood is collected and preserved in special bags with compartments- around 80% of the stem cells on one side and the remaining 20% on the other. The 80% is kept asides for transplants and the 20% for stem cell expansion (if transplants are required repeatedly)

Today, collection of stem cells is a much talked about issue and widely encouraged. By preserving your baby’s cord blood, you are actually increasing your chances of finding stem cell matches for your family. It is tough in case of African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and people born with multi ethnicity. About 30 to 70 percent people have shown failure in matching bone marrow in cases of serious requirement – cord blood stem cells collection comes to the rescue in such cases.

Courtesy by: Saurabh K Jain