*A collaborative post
Having a baby is one of life’s most amazing adventures. Babies certainly change lives in many ways, during those early weeks of sleepless nights, endless nappy changes and hours trying to get wind up through to the toddler years and schooldays. Babies change lives in more ways than we initially realise and one of those ways that you may not have considered is the collection of their cord blood at birth. Did you know that babies cord blood can change lives too?
Over the last couple of decades, cord blood stem cells have been used to improve and save millions of lives. Stem cells have the incredible ability to become any cell within the human body including blood, nerve, muscle, cartilage and much more so harnessing the power of stem cell therapies, the cells can regenerate and replace tissue within the human body and restore a function that has been lost as a result of illness or injury. The stem cells can help the human body repair itself.
What is cord blood used for?
Babies cord blood has traditionally been associated with the treatment of leukaemia and various blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and thalassemia. Over the last few years, there’s been a growing trend to use it in regenerative medicine, repairing damaged heart tissue and treating neurological conditions such as stroke, autism and cerebral palsy.
How cord blood is collected
Once the baby has been born, the baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut as part of the normal birth procedure. Via this non-invasive procedure, the stem cells are then harvested from the cord and placenta and they’re packed up and sent to the laboratory where they will be processed, tested and cryogenically frozen. All within 24 hours before the baby is just one day old.
With the stem cells in storage with Cells4Life, they’re kept until they’re needed. Just recently, cord blood has been transfused from the baby brother of Jay Shetty who has cerebral palsy as they were a perfect match to each other. You can find out more about Jay Shetty and the treatment he received here.
I’ll be honest, I knew that stem cell and cord blood collection was available in the UK however, I didn’t realise how accessible it is for parents. I think it’s an incredible science that we’re able to use the stem cells and cord blood to our advantage in medicine when in most cases it would be put into clinical waste.
The information given in this post and accompanying infographic was supplied by Cells4Life in their introductory information booklet. To find out more about cord blood banking and stem cell collection, you can visit the Cells4Life website.