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What are umbilical cord stem cells?

Umbilical cord stem cells are cells that can be collected from the umbilical cord of a newborn shortly after they are born. This causes no harm to the mother or the baby, and would otherwise be discarded along with the placenta. Umbilical cord blood contains haematopoietic stem cells, which are similar to those found in bone marrow. They can be used to generate cells of the immune system and red blood cells. There are also mesenchymal stromal stem cells in umbilical cord blood, which can grow into bone, cartilage and other types of bodily tissues.

Umbilical cord stem cells can be collected and stored in a cord blood bank, ready to be used in the treatment of a range of conditions later in the child’s life. Many of these conditions have no other truly effective method of treatment, so storing the stem cells is a powerful way to invest in your child’s future health.