There is nothing like looking down at a child that you just gave birth to (or are the proud parent of). Your heart flutters and you know that there is nothing that you will not do to protect your child. As a parent, I know this feeling well. I also know all the fears that go alongside. You think of all the things that you cannot control. These fears are genuine and real, and there may be an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, but there is something you can do to try and alleviate one of these fears. One of the biggest fears that parents have is, “what if my child gets sick, what can I do?” This is not the cold or flu sick, but the cancer, auto immune disorder, and the illnesses on a grander scale type of sick. At the time of birth, a decision to bank your child’s umbilical cord blood and tissue banking may save your child’s life.

Should you bank your child’s stem blood cells?

When a child is born, there are stem cord blood cells found in the umbilical cord that are valuable, and you can now bank this cord blood. These early stage blood cells are extremely valuable because they can help heal your child now or later in life, and they are also used to regenerate and replicate other types of cells in the body. Currently, there are over 80 diseases and illnesses that stem cells are accredited in assisting to heal, and there are many hundreds more that have a trial process ongoing. These include heart disease, lung disorders, autoimmune diseases, and blood disorders.

Because these banked cord blood cells are from your child, they will be an exact match for them, and there will be no need to seek donors and hope that one will be found. The blood found in the umbilical cord is similar to that found in bone marrow. However, umbilical cord blood has up to ten times the amount of stem blood that is produced in bone marrow. Umbilical stem blood is younger than bone marrow, making it more regenerative. Without banking the stem cells, if a need arises for a transfusion, donors often must go through a painful bone marrow transplant, and there are no guarantees of success.  Another benefit is that stem cells are often a higher match for siblings and other family members if they need a transplant. This again limits the need to search for other donors and offers a higher success rate.

Should you bank you child’s umbilical cord tissue?

Like the umbilical cord blood, cord tissue used to be thrown out as medical waste, but now researchers are encouraging parents to bank this tissue for their child. Umbilical cord tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).  There is ongoing research regarding the use of umbilical cord tissue in repairing tissue, suppressing immune response, and developing this tissue into cartilage and bone. This tissue is also in research as a treatment for many medical issues, including heart failure, strokes, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

There have been major advancements in medical health, and planning today for tomorrow may offer your child and other family members the best hope now and in the future. By this simple step of saving your newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood and cord tissue, you may be saving their life or preventing illness. As you gaze in wonder and delight at your newborn, know your decision today could help them if they are ever in a time of medical need.

To find out more about the benefits of storing cord blood and cord tissue banking, click here.