Every parent starts planning for their child’s future even before they are born – be it financial or medical. Stem cell banking is one such innovation that has paved way to treat numerous diseases by making the body fight from within rather than depend on series of medications and treatments.However, not everyone has a positive notion towards this technology. While some feel this can be life saving, others feel it is a waste of time, money and resources. So, is it good or bad? Let’s look deeper into it!
During a pregnancy, the mother’s system is connected to the baby’s via the umbilical cord. It is a common practice to cut the umbilical cord once the baby is born. All life nurturing cells and nutrients are transferred to the baby through this cord which is attached to the placenta. When the cord is cut, the blood trapped in the passage is filled with essential immature cells called the stem cells. These cells have the potential to assume the form of other cells in the body.
The process of collecting this umbilical cord blood, extracting the stem cells and preserving them for future use is called stem cell banking. There are three options to do this – private banking, community banking and public banking.
How important is stem cell banking? In the recent times, this procedure has gained a lot of recognition and stem cell banking importance has increased. The number of success stories due to stem cell therapy has convinced many parents and parents-to-be, to preserve their child’s stem cells.
One of the biggest importance is the ability to help others. Stem cells from one sample can match the needs of another person. Since these are immature cells, they can take up the form of other cells even in another person’s body, if it is a match. Stem cell therapy is gaining a lot of importance and momentum in the recent times and ground breaking findings are helping many people fight a variety of diseases.
When umbilical cord preservation is done right, stem cell banking uses can be many. Some of the noteworthy stem cell preservation benefits are:
As a parent you should be aware of both stem cell banking pros and cons before making a decision.
Some of the advantages of cord blood banking are:
Like every other scientific advancement this technology has its own set of negatives too. Some of the stem cell preservation disadvantages are:
A lot of research is being done in umbilical cord storage and cord blood benefits are on the rise. The advancement of technology has helped treat a number of otherwise hopeless diseases, with the help of these cells that were discarded as a waste, few years ago. With community banking and more people mentally opening up to helping others, this technology has a lot to offer us humans. A lot of people are willing to donate for research, which is helping doctors and scientists find new possibilities and uses of keeping cord blood.
Some of the diseases stem cell banking is expected to treat in the form of regenerative medicine are:
Latest technological development is enabling labs to multiply one’s own stem cells to meet the requirement (an adult’s requirement is much more than what is collected at birth). Though this is very expensive, it shows one’s own stem cells can be used in the future treatments if needed, without having to depend on external sources.
Yes, stem cell banking benefits is not limited to just the donor. It can used to treat diseases in many other children and adults too. If you are not keen on paying for it, you can always opt for the public umbilical cord banking rather than letting it go waste.
Stem cells collected at birth can be a 100% match for the donor (the baby), almost 90% match for their first sibling; close to 50% for parents and 25% for grandparents.
The cost varies from company to company and also the length of the term you want to preserve the stem cells for. The public stem cell banking is run by the government and is free of cost. For private companies, please refer their website for various package options.
Stem cell therapy has been helpful in dealing with over 80 diseases. These include cancer, anemia and some life altering immunity disorders.
Storage of umbilical cord and stem cell banking has saved a number of lives. With on-going research and new findings the possibilities of these cells helping fight more diseases is high. Even if a parent does not believe in stem cell therapy, they can donate the stem cells to the public banking or for research purposes.