Every woman who has experienced pregnancy knows that it’s an overwhelming experience. After spending hours in labor you get a sweet bundle of joy to take home, care for and nurture. You make plans about his or her future and pray he/she will lead a wonderful life.But not many women give much thought to the future health of their baby, especially if he/she was born healthy. No one can imagine their precious child getting a serious illness or disease. However it is a possibility, isn’t it?
What if you are well prepared to tackle your child’s health issues from his/her birth itself. Yes, it is possible by harvesting umbilical cord blood stem cells. These stem cells are presently used to treat more than 75 diseases like non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, leukemia, severe anemia, spinal cord diseases, severe combined immunodeficiency diseases, diabetes, cardiac diseases, neurological diseases, stroke, paralysis and many more.
Stem cells are basically defined as cells that have the potential to regenerate organs & tissues over a life time. It’s a shimmering sphere of human potential. They are the master cells responsible for producing all mature cells in our body. Stem cells are harvested from adult tissue such as umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. Normally when a transfusion is required,the first step is to match the cells between the recipient & the donor.
If there is no perfect match between the two, the transfused or transplanted cells are likely to be rejected because of the immune incompatibility.In the case of umbilical cord blood stem cells transplant, the possibility of rejection is less because these cell are not vulnerable to attacks from the recipient’s immune system. Hence, there is a less chance of the transplanted cells attacking the host.
Umbilical cord blood stem cells are a potent, versatile and readily available source of stem cells. Therefore, after delivering the baby, the whole blood from the placenta is collected from the umbilical cord and cryo-preserved for use in the future. Nowadays, many countries have established umbilical cord blood banks where they collect and preserve cord blood. Children and their family members who own this cord blood, will have an exclusive guaranty for whole life in the event of having to treat any disease.
However, caution should be exercised regarding the risk of transplanting the seeds of some types of cancers and genetic diseases hiding in the stem cells, which may later on become full blown. There is a 1 in 2700 chance of a child getting a disease that can be treated by the child’s own cord blood.
When a child is born, the umbilical cord is cut and discarded. This discarded piece contains a substance that may one day save your child and their family. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to harvest the cord blood and should be encouraged by everyone. You never know…it could be your life saver.