Introduction to stem cells storage (for mums-to-be)

stem cells

This is a collaboration with a video provided by Smart Cells and Netmums

If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant in the near future, there is something which you may not have thought about before, something that could save your child’s life or treat a serious illness in the future – I am talking about collection and storage of your stem cells.

Stem cells storage is something that needs to be planned before your child is born as stem cells are collected at birth (from umbilical cord blood and tissue) before they get stored away.

If you haven’t heard of stem cells and stem cells storage before, read on to learn more about it and how it might help your child’s health in the future.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are biological cells found in our body which help our organs and tissues to maintain their function.

Stem cells can replace themselves and they can replace cells in those tissues which are damaged, worn out or have just died.

Umbilical cord stem cells

There are many different types of stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells are those found in the umbilical cord blood which is found in the umbilical cord and the placenta.

Umbilical cord blood contains a very specific type of stem cells called Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSC) – these can develop into blood-related cells.

Cord tissue, on the other hand, is a source of another type of stem cell – these cells are called Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) and they can develop into a variety of cell types including bone, cartilage and muscle cells.

How are umbilical cord stem cells collected

First, a collection kit gets sent to you after you have registered with a company such as Smart Cells. You take this collection kit with you to the hospital when you are in labour.

After a safe delivery of your baby, a phlebotomist will collect a cord blood and cord tissue and the sample will be sent to a laboratory where it will be processed and stored for later possible use. More about this in this video:

What are stem cells used for

Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat rare inherited disorders and illnesses such as:

  • Leukemia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

There are also many other diseases and disorders that can be treated using cord blood stem cells.

At the moment, treating certain conditions using stem cells is in experimental stages but in the future, stem cells could also potentially be used for the treatment of MS (Multiple Sclerosis), strokes, diabetes and much more.

To me, stem cells storage is a no-brainer. We are lucky to be able to do this today and I wish my mum had access to it when she was ill. This may have saved her life (she had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma) but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

You can also read more about this topic on Netmums.

Would you consider storing your umbilical cord stem cells for the security and possibly for better future of your child? I know I would.

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