The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has devoted the month of July to cord blood awareness, and we want to spread the word about the importance of cord blood banking. The use of cord blood and cord tissue stem cells in treating diseases and disorders continue to rise. As medicine advances through ongoing clinical trial studies, the power of cord blood and cord tissue shows promise in treating prevalent diseases that plague the young and old alike. Yet, more than 80% of cord blood specimens are discarded as medical waste. Cord blood education is the first step to helping parents make a fundamental decision for the future of their families by banking their child's cord blood. We want to answer the top three questions people have about cord blood banking, and to share some tips on how you can do your part to spread awareness on this often misunderstood topic.
Why is cord blood important?
The stem cells in cord blood are unique in that they can facilitate cell repair and separate into other various cell types. The stem cells extracted from the umbilical cord blood or tissue have been shown to be more potent than those obtained from other sources such as bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells are considered naïve and immature compared to stem cells from other sources. Thus, cord stem cells haven’t been exposed to disease or environmental pollutants, making them more accepting of foreign cells. There are many other benefits of cord blood stem cells. One such benefit is that cord blood collection is a simple and painless procedure to both baby and mother. To date, cord blood stem cells are known to treat nearly 80 diseases
, and over 100 clinical trial studies are underway to explore the healing power of umbilical stem cells in other well-known disorders and conditions.
Why should I bank my child's cord blood?
We are learning that cord blood is not merely used for treating children, but the odds of treating diseases that are diagnosed in the latter years of life have proven to be significantly more foreseeable. Studies are discovering success with cord blood infusion and transplants in patients with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's, Diabetes, Stroke, Cleft Lip, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer's. Read here for more details and a complete list of clinical trials involving cord blood and cord tissue.
Banking your child's cord blood ensures that it would be available to them (autologous), or another family member (allogenic) for use should the need arise. Someone's own stem cells are always a perfect match for him or herself. Blood-related siblings share a 75% chance of being a potential match, and parents have a 100% of being a partial match. Transplants using cord blood from a family member are demonstrated to be more successful than transplants using cord blood from someone unrelated.
Why should I store with a private cord blood bank?
There are options when it comes to storing your child's cord blood and cord tissue. Some parents choose to donate to a public bank, and some choose to store privately with a family bank, like Cryo-Cell International. There are significant benefits to storing privately. When a family opts to donate their child's cord blood, they are giving up rights to access. A child's cord blood may not be available to the donating family when needed.
Moreover, finding a potential match through the public registry can be a timely process, time which some don't have the luxury of having in health-related incidences. Besides time, there is also the issue of cost. The expense of procuring a specimen match from a public bank is approximately $40,000. The cost to retrieve your child's specimen is free. The cost one incurs with a private bank is the cost to test and store the specimen. These prices will vary among cord blood banks. In any case, most find it more affordable to bank privately vs. pay for a donor match that will not be as compatible.
Similarly, another crucial factor to consider is the actual supply of matches in the public registry. Various studies have shown the need for more diversity in the public banking registry. One such study showed that cord blood donors of non-Caucasian ethnicity had a higher risk of failing public banking criteria, had lower cord blood volume collections, and a reduced total nucleated cell count than Caucasian donors. This translates to there being less of a supply in potential matches for patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Private banks offer many perks to their clients, and families should research which cord blood bank is the best in terms of facility, guarantees, transplant success, and collection kit quality. Cryo-Cell is the only private bank to be awarded the highest FACT accreditation and offers our families many options in terms of financing and superior processing technology. Read more about what sets Cryo-Cell apart from other private cord blood banks here.
What can I do to spread cord blood awareness?
- Share this article with your friends and family! The more access expectant parents have to this knowledge, the more likely we are to potentially help save lives.
- Educate yourself, so you can help educate others. Check out our blog on all things cord blood and cord tissue related.
- If you have stored your child's cord blood, share your reason for storing. Leave a comment below and share on your social media.
- Share testimonial stories of families who have decided to store their child's cord blood and who have had successful outcomes with transplantation.
If you have banked your child's cord blood, share your reason for banking by using hashtag #Cryocellfamily. Stay connected by following Cryo-Cell on our social media platforms for the latest updates and for content to share with your loved ones.
Together, we can help reach expectant parents and inform them of the life-saving potential their little one's cord blood stem cells hold. Now, that's worth celebrating!