More and more families have chosen to collect, process and store their baby’s cord blood as it provides a safe, painless and non-controversial means of acquiring stem cells. These stem cells have the potential to treat a wide range of diseases including common cancers and blood disorders, such as the sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and leukemia.
Storing the baby’s cord blood is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, available only at birth. Cord blood stem cells are young and healthy cells, and are better matches when used for transplants. Cord blood transplants are generally preferred because of a lower complication rate compared to bone marrow transplants. When stored in a private cord blood bank, cord blood can be readily made available should the need arise, saving the precious time needed to search for a matching donor’s stem cells and allowing treatment to begin promptly.
A baby’s own umbilical cord blood guarantees a perfect match for himself. The cord blood can also potentially increase the odds of having a match for his siblings and parents.
Expectant parents are storing cord blood for their families, not only as a potential life-saving resource for current uses of stem cells, but also for their future potential. Some families have more defined risk factors, but most often, parents bank for the security in knowing the health benefits stem cells may someday offer their children themselves, or other family members.
Recent clinical studies support the unique suitability of cord blood stem cells for a number of developing technologies. Doctors are especially enthusiastic about the potential use of cord blood stem cells in the emerging fields of gene therapy and cellular repair. When you bank your baby's cord blood stem cells, you are saving what may be a key component to potential future medical treatments and cures.