Birth & Delivery

Future-proofing parenthood: 5 reasons to preserve your baby’s newborn stem cells

Emma Harpham in partnership with Cord Blood Registry   |   5 Mar 2024

A waiting room. A diagnosis. Pamphlets handed out, and a decision to be made. A situation that we all hope we’ll never have to be in, especially as parents. 

Of course, the future is pretty unpredictable, and we can only really do so much when it comes to safeguarding our family’s longer-term health.

But, advances in treatment with newborn stem cells are proving life-saving for patients with a range of health conditions, across the fields of transplant medicine and regenerative medicine. 

So, what exactly is cord blood, and why should it be on your radar as a parent-to-be? 

For this, we turn to Cord Blood Registry (CBR), the world’s #1 family newborn stem cell bank, safeguarding over 1 million cord blood and cord tissue samples — the most in the industry (according to internal data on file).

Together, we’re giving you the lowdown on the power of newborn stem cell preservation, and the top reasons to hit ‘go’ on cord blood banking – because as parents, taking steps to help protect your family’s future health can grant us so much peace of mind.

Stem cells 101 – what’s the science?

Stem cells, unique ‘architectural’ cells within the body, are the building blocks of organ tissues, blood, and the immune system.

They can be found in our brains as well as our bone marrow – but are also found in our bloodstream, as well as in the placenta and umbilical cord during pregnancy.  

Stem cells have the incredible ability to transform. When they are used in medicine, stem cells can turn into specific types of cells that are needed to help our body function properly. 

They are also being researched in an exciting new area of medicine called regenerative medicine, which provides promising experimental therapies in areas ranging from Cerebral Palsy, heart conditions, orthopedic conditions, and spinal cord injuries to name a few. 

What diseases can be cured with stem cells? 

So, what diseases have the potential to respond beneficially to stem cell treatment? 

Well, stem cells can already help treat over 80 known conditions today. This includes;

  • Some cancers, including leukaemia
  • Blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia
  • Some metabolic health conditions
  • Immunodeficiencies

Plus, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine as of 2022, hundreds of clinical trials have been initiated using stem cells (from cord blood and cord tissue specifically) as a potential treatment for conditions like cerebral palsy, heart defects, and Alzheimer’s disease

Pretty amazing stuff!

what is cord blood banking

What is cord blood, exactly?

Cord blood is the leftover blood in the umbilical cord after birth. This is not to be confused with cord tissue, which refers to the umbilical cord itself.  

Both contain powerful stem cells, though – cord blood mostly contains hematopoietic stem cells (blood and immune forming cells with the ability to self-renew) and cord tissue mostly contains mesenchymal stem cells (stem cells that can form bone, cartilage, and tissue cells). 

What is cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking lets you preserve your newborn’s stem cells and store them for future use. 

You can either choose to preserve with a private bank, public bank, or, if you choose not to bank, your baby’s cord blood is just discarded at the hospital. 

What are my options for banking my baby’s cord blood?

Getting informed here is key.

With Cord Blood Registry, you have two options to save your baby’s cord blood:

  • Family banking: Your baby’s cord blood is stored for a fee for exclusive use by your family.
  • Newborn Possibilities Program®: CBR offers processing and storage at no cost for five years when a family member or the baby has been diagnosed as having a condition that can potentially be treated with or benefit from stem cell use.

Another option that’s available when it comes to preserving your baby’s newborn stem cells is public donation.

Your baby’s cord blood is donated anonymously for potential use by a patient who needs a transplant. Note – you must give birth in a participating hospital. This is not associated with CBR. 

How is cord blood collected?

Cord blood collection is a super simple process that takes only a few minutes for your OB/GYN or midwife to do after baby is born. 

When you bank with Cord Blood Registry, once the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, the remaining blood in the umbilical cord is drawn into a collection bag and is then transported securely to a safe storage facility. 

So, why do cord blood banking? Consider these 5 benefits 

1. Newborn stem cells have had minimal exposure to any viruses or environmental toxins

As your body ages, so do your stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are biologically younger compared to adult stem cells from other sources like bone marrow.  

When saved, they have unique qualities and advantages, including less risk of certain complications when used in transplants, and in some rare cases, the ability to use your own stem cells for certain conditions in an autologous transplant.

Basically – collecting them at birth ensures you’re saving the youngest stem cells you can! 

2. They’re a perfect match for your baby and can potentially be used by you and your family

Your baby isn’t the only one who may benefit from having access to preserved newborn stem cells. 

The cells can potentially be used by siblings and parents, too. 

In many treatments utilizing cord blood, the treating physician looks at the availability of cord blood from close family members first, as these individuals are more likely to be a close genetic match to the patient. 

3. It’s non-invasive and simple

Collecting cord blood and cord tissue is non-invasive and easy – whether you’re having a vaginal or c-section birth.  

Planning on delaying cord clamping? Depending on the length of the delay, cord blood may still be able to be collected, and there is no impact on cord tissue collection. 

4. Choosing to preserve my increase the possibilities for future use

Choosing to preserve your cord tissue as whole segments can help safeguard all cell types.

By retaining all the cells in the cord, you may be able to take advantage of the best that science has to offer in the future. 

5. You’ll increase your peace of mind for the future

And speaking of which, cord blood banking may be an impactful investment in potentially protecting your family’s future health.  

The research around stem cells is always progressing, and knowing you have this resource for your family if needed, can be a real weight off your shoulders. 

This may be especially true if you’ve got a family history of disease, or you’re having a baby of an ethnic minority or mixed ethnicity in which there is generally a greater difficulty finding a stem cell donor that is a suitable genetic match.

Want to learn more about the benefits of cord blood preservation? 

Make Cord Blood Registry your go-to, for resources and support.

They are the #1 OB/GYN-recommended newborn stem cell preservation company, according to a blind survey by Egg Strategy on 10/19, funded by CBR.

If you’re currently pregnant, it’s recommended to enroll by 32 weeks. 

You’ll be assigned a personal educator who can connect you with their Clinical Operations Team (many of whom are genetic counselors) if you have questions about your family’s medical history and how newborn stem cells could help benefit. 

Ready to take the step towards future-proofing your family’s health? Enroll with them here, and use promo code RB50 for 50% off their annual newborn stem cell bundle which includes processing, shipping, and 1st year of storage.*

* For U.S. residents. 

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