As parents, we would unhesitatingly pay for anything sterling for our little one; a good baby cot, a certified car seat, right down to the food they consume. The price is never a problem if it is beneficial. Likewise, in recent times, many parents are spending money on preserving their children’s cord blood because it acts like an insurance for the future. Expecting parents might question if preserving cord blood is worth it, and what it can do. Here is all you need to know about cord blood before making your decision.
What are cord blood stem cells and what are their benefits?
Cord blood cells come from the blood retrieved from the umbilical cord. Usually, about three to five ounces of blood is collected from each umbilical cord. This is only sufficient to treat a sick child, whereas an adult will need a few units of matched cord blood.
The cord blood stem cells are beneficial because of its multiple uses. As advancements occur in the medical field, doctors find increasing uses of the stem cells, motivating more parents to preserve their child’s cord blood for the future. They are used to treat countless diseases, including a wide range of cancers, bone marrow failure syndromes, blood and metabolic disorders and immunodeficiencies. Your child can benefit from it for his entire lifetime should any situation occur where he needs a transplant. Alternatively, cord blood can be donated to help patients who need it urgently.
Cord Blood Stem Cells Transplant
We have heard of a bone marrow transplant and know just how many patients it has successfully saved. However, it comes with a set of limitations that only a cord blood transplant can overcome, making the latter a more popular choice.
Cord blood stem cells are less likely to be rejected by the body because it is an immature stem cell, allowing it to easily adapt to any environment it is in. These transplants are used for replacing and regenerating damaged or diseased bone marrows, treating blood cancers (like leukemia), correcting genetic defects, and they may potentially be part of cellular therapy and regenerative medicine.
Additionally, as stem cell research progresses, the potential for the future of the cells grow tremendously. There are many illnesses – autism, cerebral palsy, HIV, and lupus to name a few – that are under clinical trials. These diseases, though not proven to be curable by stem cells, can be slowed down by stem cell transplants.
Cord Blood Collection and Storage
Whether you are opting for a C-section or vaginal birth, collecting of cord blood takes only minutes and it is painless. When the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, your nurse will insert a needle into the umbilical cord to collect the remaining blood. Afterwards, the blood will be sent to a laboratory for processing before storing it. When stored properly and frozen in the correct temperature, cord blood is still as good as new even after decades, perhaps “forever” too.
Here comes the practical part of the entire topic – the cost of storing your newborn’s cord blood. There are two storage options, public or private.
StemCord and Cordlife are examples of private banks in Singapore that can help you store your child’s cord blood. Private banks store the cord blood for solely your children and your family’s use only, though the cost is definitely higher, you get to choose which bank you prefer. Do ample research on the background and storage techniques of the bank of your choice so that you feel comfortable with your
The Singapore Cord Blood Bank (SCBB) is the only local public blood bank and costs are lower compared to private banks. A public bank would mean that you are committing an altruistic act by donating your child’s cord blood to the public. However, should the need arise and your blood is still available, you are free to use it. Notably, your donation may be rejected if you have been to a country with certain viral types of infections because it would not pass SCBB’s guidelines.
If your family has a history of certain hereditary illness, it would be best to store the cord blood at a private bank as opposed to a public bank.
Essentially, storing your child’s cord blood is a personal choice, hence do not hesitate to give yourself more time to consider the pros and cons and facts before making a decision!