There are many things to think about in the lead up to your big day and welcoming your little one into the world. From packing your hospital bag to creating your birth plan – you want to ensure that you haven’t missed out anything important. But have you thought about cord blood banking?
More and more parents are considering the option of storing their baby’s umbilical cord blood, but some parents-to-be may still be wondering: “is cord blood banking is worth it?”. To answer this question, it’s important to understand what it all means. So, I’ve teamed up with Cells4Life to give us the low-down on cord blood banking.
Why is the umbilical cord blood and tissue so important?
The umbilical cord plays a crucial role in pregnancy by passing nutrients, oxygen and hormones between mum and baby and removing any waste products through the placenta. Many parents often throw it away after giving birth, thinking that its job has come to an end. However, its power does not disappear once baby is born.
After birth, umbilical cord blood and tissue still contains billions of potent stem cells, which have almost limitless regenerative potential that could be used to treat various different conditions. Umbilical cord blood and tissue are two of the most powerful sources of stem cells a person will ever have. At birth, these stem cells can be extracted and stored for future use in potentially life-saving therapies through cord blood banking.
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord following the birth of your baby. Cord blood banking is the process of collecting this residual cord blood and extracting the powerful stem cells within it to then freeze and store for future use.
What are stem cells and how are they used?
Our body is made up of many different types of cells that each have their own specialised role in making our body work. As we grow, stem cells provide new cells for the body and replace any specialised cells that have been damaged or lost – from muscle cells to brain cells, you name it!
More and more, umbilical cord stem cells are being used to unlock the future of medicine. Doctors have used them to find ways to treat untreatable diseases and cure incurable conditions. Today, they are used for neurological disorders, heart disease, blood disorders and bone injuries.
What can stem cells do?
These stem cells can already be used to treat more than 85 diseases worldwide and there are several clinical trials actively investigating other conditions, including skin disorders, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and many more.
In the future, scientists expect they could treat incurable conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and cerebral palsy. There is even fresh hope of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Currently, there are more than 7,200 scientific trials worldwide exploring future applications for stem cells – the possibilities could be endless.
What are the pros and cons of private cord blood banking?
Now we know what cord blood banking is and what stem cells do – it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.
There are numerous benefits that come with saving your baby’s umbilical cord blood. Cord blood banking allows you and your family to store these precious stem cells for your loved ones, so they will always be accessible if and when you need them. Your baby’s cord blood is also their perfect biological match – without the risk of rejection that would come with transplants from donors. And ultimately, banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood could one day save their life.
It could be said that the main downside to cord blood banking is the cost. The fees for collection and storage can be quite expensive, with prices starting from £1,400 and upwards. However, the good news is that some of the leading cord blood banks in the UK offer a range of affordable cord blood pricing packages to suit any budget.
So, is private cord blood banking worth it?
It’s crazy to think what science can do these days, right? It’s even crazier to think it all begins with an umbilical cord. Whilst it can initially seem expensive to store your baby’s cord blood, cord blood banks, such as Cells4Life, have made it an affordable option for every family.
As parents, we all want to protect our babies. We dread the thought of something bad happening to them and even when our babies grow up into adults, that feeling never goes away. That’s why millions of parents choose to save their baby’s cord blood as a kind of health insurance, which could protect them throughout their entire lifetime.
For some of us, our kids have already been born, but for those of us still waiting on our baby to arrive, it’s well worth thinking about.
Founded in 2002, Cells4Life is the UK’s largest cord blood bank.
This is because of their unique, patented CellsPlus service. Powered by TotiCyte, CellsPlus maintains 3 times more stems at the point of treatment than the industry standard processing method – which means there are more opportunities for multiple therapies throughout life.
Find out more by requesting a free guide to cord blood banking.