Cord blood cells are pure gold from the most unassuming source. They are a cutting edge medical treatment that may be the single best way to ensure your child has a healthy future that you’ve never heard of. The potential treatments that are regenerative in nature, which are offered by cord blood, border on the miraculous. What exactly is cord blood anyways? Realistically, it’s an investment made to different type of bank. Doctors will extract stem cells (not to be confused with more controversial embryonic stem cells) from the umbilical cord within a few minutes of birth, ship it off to a private (or public if you choose) cord blood bank and put them into cryo storage for later use should a health condition arise for the child or yourself some years down the road. Cord blood banks have actually been around since the 90s but with new treatments and cures being found are in the headlines today with much more frequency than ever before.
What makes cord blood so valuable?
The cells found in cord blood are essentially the foundation for many systems in the body. These cells can take on various forms and be used to treat diseases or disorders in the blood or immune systems as well as various types of cancers in both the child or any family member who matches close enough genetically. Additionally, these cells can regenerate tissues and even repair organs. This is something that science just cannot mimic – the building blocks of the human life are simply irreplaceable in the medical field. Children often develop medical conditions at young ages, but if their own stem cells are available and reintroduced into the child the body will often heal itself – sending the child off into a healthy and prosperous adulthood. If the stem cells are needed later in life for a grown child or the parents, more cord blood is often needed for transfusions than what is provided at birth. However, due to their nature, this is not typically a major issue as cord blood is much easier to find genetic matches for than other stem cells especially in public banks.
What can it cure?
The list of diseases that cord blood can treat is already approaching 100 and continuing to grow as more research is done on the subject. Leukemia, lymphomas, sickle cell anemia and immune system deficiencies are just the tip of the iceberg. While many diseases have already been successfully treated and cured – the research is showing even greater promise. Take cerebral palsy for example – a disease which now affects 1 in every 303 eight year old children – is now being tested in clinical trials with cord blood and showing very high potential.
The price of health
While the cost of private storage is noteworthy, the price associated is a minor issue when you look at the potential costs for other forms of treatment. Cord blood cells are like having an ace in your pocket – for your child, spouse or yourself – at any moment’s notice. If you are thinking about banking cord blood, start your research at least a few weeks before the expected due date of your child. Some banks, like Familycord even offer discounts to users who sign up and pay online. Cord blood is a priceless commodity and although you hope to never have to withdraw from that bank account – the comfort of knowing that a medical marvel is there waiting for you is invaluable.