The powerful thing you didn’t know you can do with your baby’s umbilical cord
Article Published by: mamamia.com
There are a lot of unknowns about raising a child: will they be more interested in swimming or tennis? Will they aspire to be a doctor or an astronaut? Will they be a terrible two or a traumatic teen (…or both)?
When it comes to children, the only thing you can know for sure is that there is guaranteed to be nothing you can know for sure.
But, there is something you can do from the very beginning to ensure your child has a safe and healthy future. A way to access a rich source of stem cells to help treat around 80 different health disorders, including blood cancers, and immunodeficiency and metabolic disorders.
It’s called umbilical cord blood and tissue banking, and although it sounds like something from a futuristic sci-fi flick, the process has actually been used to treat a variety of health issues for more than 20 years. So how exactly does it work? And what does it cure? Let us delve a little deeper.
Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which are the ‘building blocks’ of the body. Stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell in the body, like a muscle cell, red blood cell or a brain cell. The blood stem cells found in cord blood can develop into various types of human blood cells.
The most common uses for cord blood relate to the treatment of blood disorders and cancers, like immune deficiencies and leukaemias. New technological and scientific advances mean the range of diseases that are able to be treated with cord blood is getting bigger and bigger, which is good news for us.
Recent advances in technology mean that umbilical cord tissue can also be stored. In fact, the stem cells from this tissue are currently being studied for their ability to regenerate bone and cartilage, treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and a range of other degenerative and inflammatory diseases. If you were to store your cord tissue cells, they can be used in further clinical trials at your request, and available for use should approved therapies become available.
So you’re wondering…how does the process of preserving umbilical cord blood and tissue work? It’s actually not as complicated as you think.
The collection process takes place immediately after the birth of a baby, and is non-invasive, quick, and more importantly, completely painless for you and baby. After tests are completed to ensure the cells will be safe for future use, they are stored in three separate bags, and multiple vials for tissue, in a registered blood and tissue bank like Cryosite.
Cryosite cord blood and tissue banking is Australia’s first and most renowned family cord blood bank, enabling families to preserve a child’s cord blood and tissue for use in therapies now and also in the future.
A baby’s cord blood and tissue, stored privately, will only be available for the treatment of that child, or another compatible family member. According to Cryosite, thousands of Australians have chosen to privately bank their child’s cord blood and cord tissue with their bank.
It’s a new and innovative way of preserving a family’s future by protecting them from future health issues at the equivalent cost of one cup of coffee a week.
So, while your child may be more of a maths whiz and less of an artist (or the other way around, or both!), there’s one thing you can know for sure: there’s more ways than ever to keep them healthy in the future.
ABOUT IFFIE OKORONKWO, M.D.
Iffie Okoronkwo, M.D. is a Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Medicine and Pain Management physician at Manhattan Spine and Sports Medicine (http://www.manhattanmd.com/), a private practice based in New York City with 40 years of experience providing the finest expert medical care and services to patients around the world.
Dr. Iffie is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and, as a physiatrist, utilizes ultrasound guided injections, fluoroscopy guided injections, PRP, regenerative medicine, and more to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions affecting muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves.