Cord blood & cord tissue
A Guide to Baby Stem Cells
This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about baby stem cells, including stem cell storage, stem cell preservation, what it involves, the advantages and the costs.
What is baby cord blood and baby cord tissue?
Umbilical cord blood and cord tissue are rich in two distinct types of stem cells. Both of these stem cells in babies play important roles in regenerative medicine, and both work in their own individual way.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after the birth of your baby. It’s rich in blood stem cells, which is similar to those that you find in bone marrow. Stem cells are considered the ‘master cells’ of the body. Blood-producing stem cells (HSC or hematopoietic stem cells) are present in cord blood and have the ability to develop or morph into other types of cells, so if a person is low in red or white blood cells or platelets then they can develop into these. This means cord blood storage can be used to treat a variety of different diseases, including some types of cancer, genetic disorders and immune deficiency.
Cord tissue, also known as ‘Wharton’s jelly’, is the insulating tissue that surrounds the one vein and two arteries that are found within the umbilical cord. It contains white cells, fats and, more importantly, a large number of stem cells. These are called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are said to change into a variety of connective tissues of the body. While no current treatment exists using placenta tissue or cord stem cells today, research is growing at an astounding pace. MSCs are currently being used in over 40 clinical trials and give hope of one day being able to treat debilitating conditions such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, lung cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and injuries to cartilage and bones.
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking involves the process of collecting blood that’s left in your newborn’s placenta and umbilical cord and storing it for future medical use. The process can also be referred to as umbilical cord blood banking. As mentioned previously, cord blood contains potentially lifesaving stem cells. Cord blood is collected straight after birth and the collection process is safe and painless for you and your baby, and it doesn’t interfere in any way with your delivery or labour. Actually, parents often get caught up in bonding and holding their new baby that they’re unaware it’s even happened.
What is cord tissue banking?
Cord tissue banking involves obtaining around six inches of the umbilical cord at birth. This procedure is done after the placenta is delivered, the umbilical cord is cut and the cord blood has been collected. The process is safe and painless.
Why should I bank baby cord blood and blood tissue?
There are many great reasons to bank baby cord blood and blood tissue. Both cord blood and tissue have the potential to be used to treat a variety of conditions. Cord blood is currently used in the treatment of more than 80 diseases. For instance, when someone contracts a disease that must be treated with radiation or chemotherapy, there is a high probability of a negative impact on the immune system. However, due to the particular types of stem cell found in cord blood, they can be used to re-populate and bolster the cells in the immune system and blood.
Cord tissue, on the other hand, has the potential to differentiate and regenerate into many different types of cells due to the large number of stem cells that can be collected from it. This means that they could be used to treat even more conditions than cord blood can treat. This is because MSCs are increasingly being utilised in regenerative medicine for many conditions including kidney disease, autoimmune disease and ALS. As the use of MSCs grows, we see a large number of families beginning to preserve both the cord tissue and the cord blood. As a result of this, umbilical cord tissue banking is now commonplace.
Why should I save baby teeth stem cells?
To save and preserve baby teeth and teeth stem cells gives you another chance if you’ve missed the opportunity to store the cells from the umbilical cord. Instead, you can take advantage of dental pulp cell banking. Our teeth hold quantities of unique dental pulp cells which can be processed and harvested for baby tooth storage. Cells that are found within your child’s milk teeth and those found in healthy adult teeth are very important. They have the ability to regenerate and can change into many other cell types. This is possible because they’re considered ‘naive’ and therefore can change, helping to aid the repair of cells, muscles, nerves, bones and more. The process is non-invasive and very simple. Current therapies and treatments based on these stem cells include sickle cell, cleft palate repair and more.
What are the advantages of cord blood banking?
Stem cells are the building blocks of the blood and immune system. They have the ability to generate into other varieties of cells, so they can help repair blood vessels, organs and tissues and can be used to treat a host of diseases. For example, in cases where a patient has a condition such as leukaemia, the treatment offered is usually chemotherapy. However, if this fails, then doctors often do a stem cell transplant which involves a transfusion of stem cells from bone marrow or cord blood from a healthy donor. This can help create new blood, giving the individual an improved chance of making a full recovery. Due to the stem cells in cord blood being immature, they haven’t learned how to attack foreign substances, so it’s therefore much easier to match cord blood with transplant patients as they’re less likely to reject the transfusion. Each year, more than 2,000 cord blood stem cell transplants are performed worldwide.
What are the cord blood banking costs and cord tissue banking costs?
The costs of both cord blood banking and cord tissue banking depend on a number of factors: whether you want to pay annually or monthly, how many children you have and whether you wish to avail of a combination of services or just one. We are proud to offer interest-free prices, so contact us today for a free consultation to find out what it could cost you for these life-changing opportunities.