While pregnant with my 6 children I never heard about cord blood banking and cord tissue banking. Although I don't know that it was widely available 23 years ago, I know it was around 11 years ago, but it wasn't brought up to me at the midwife's office and at that point in my life, you probably would have had to beat me over the head to get me to pay attention to one more thing. I was all about putting out the fires around me, but I wish I'd paid a bit more attention to the concept. A few weeks ago I was invited to learn more about cord blood by ViaCord - one of the originators and leaders in the industry. I was very curious about it because two of the top three areas of research are areas of concern for our family - diabetes and autism. (Cerebral Palsy is the third.)
Cord blood banking is not a new service - it's been around since 1988. That's a long time for something so revolutionary to still have so many prejudices against it. In fact, when I told my husband I was going to attend this talk, he thought I meant embryonic stem cell research - which is not an uncommon response. Cord blood cell research is completely different. It's taken from the umbilical cord after delivery.
The research potential is also growing, every single day! Research shows that both cord blood and cord tissue are great sources of stem cells, which have the ability to heal damaged cells, tissues, organs, blood and the immune system. Cord blood stem cells now can be utilized in the treatment of over 80 different diseases including various leukemias, anemias (including sickle cell anemia) along with a list of metabolic disorders and immune disorders2.
This is a very good thing indeed!
So, why isn't cord blood banking more common? Everyone thinks and hopes that they will have a perfect baby, and it has a negative feeling to plan for the bad stuff to happen.
Here are some myths and realities about Cord Blood:
- Cord blood banking is expensive! - Nope. Viacord has recently cut their upfront cost by 40% to make cord blood banking more affordable and accessible to more communities. Additionally, there is a cord blood banking registry that can be created through GoFundMe for those moms that don’t want/need baby things but would instead appreciate the donation to cord blood storage fees.
- Cord blood banking helps save lives! - 88% survival rate for traditional transplants (one year post treatment)
- Cord blood banking is here to stay! - ViaCord is one of the longest and most stable companies with high transparency and high involvement in moving the industry forward.
- With sickle cell disease, the stem cells actually replace the immune system, and they are no longer susceptible to the disease.
- Researchers are hopeful that cord blood may one day be be used as a treatment option for cerebral palsy and children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Currently, researchers are conducting clinical trials looking at cord blood stem cells as potential treatments for diseases including autism, cerebral palsy and Type 1 diabetes84. In addition to studying possible uses for cord blood stem cells, researchers are studying cord tissue as well. These cells are being studied for their ability to potentially regenerate bone, cartilage, tendons and neurons.
This fact was FASCINATING to me. What will the health of the world look like in 30 years???
How does this affect you? You might not be pregnant, might not have any more children planned - but you might. Or? Grandchildren might be in the (long distant, thanks!) future. Talk with your partner and your health care provider. Request a Free Information Kit from ViaCord. Check out their Website, FAQs, and blog.