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Stem Cells: what’s the skinny on collecting them at birth?

November 10, 2018

Stem Cells are the building blocks of life – a statement I’ve heard a couple of times, but always wondered why? What’s so good about collecting your baby’s stem cells? Is it actually worth the financial layout and thoughts involved? Is it a new process? Will it catch on?

I had no idea. I’m a bit of a nosey parker. I don’t like not knowing things, so decided to get in touch with Future Health Biobank – who have kindly sponsored this post so that we could find out more.

I’ve missed the opportunity to have my babies cord blood stem cells collected, as this is a procedure that happens at birth, so I was worried that opening this box would make me regret not having looked into it when I was pregnant but Future Health Biobank informed me that you can actually collect stem cells from babies milk teeth which is news to me!

Now, if you’ve seen the film My Sister’s Keeper, then you’ll already know the skinny on this. There are many diseases that require stem cells in order to treat them. Stem cells have the ability to regenerate and protect the body from within and are able to develop into many different types of blood and tissue cells.

Currently, should I get ill and require stem cells, I would have to seek a donor and hope for a match.

Collecting your baby’s stem cells allows them to always have a 100% match ready and waiting, should they ever get ill. It also provides a 25% chance of matching with a sibling to protect them in the future too.

So why should you collect your baby’s stem cells?

So directly pinched off the website – Stem cells are the building blocks of life, they create a direct link between your child’s good health at the time they are born and their good health in the future.” So that makes sense to me. Obviously, most babies are born as a blank slate right? So the plan is to bank that good, clean slate and save it for a time they may need in the future.

What do stem cells protect against?

To date, there are more than 85 different diseases that can be treated with HSC’s from umbilical cord blood. These include the blood cancers leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The blood disorders sickle cell anaemia, aplastic anaemia and Fanconi anaemia. Metabolic disorders, Krabbe disease and Hurler syndrome.

Not just that though there is currently research being carried out for stem cells to treat autism, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, cerebral palsy, Parkinsons, alzheimers, cystic fibrosis, hearing loss, bone injuries, burns, stroke, arthritis, chrons disease, heart attacks, liver disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury and liver disease. – phew!

How do the cord blood stem cells get collected?

You can check out Kerry’s post who goes in depth about the procedure on the day and how non-invasive it is.

So what about milk teeth?

So while the richest source of cells can be found in your baby’s umbilical cord, dental pulp banking offers parents a second chance to have stem cells stored. Also, the dental pulp can be extracted from healthy adult teeth too!

The process once again seems to be really simple. Once you decide the decision is right for you, you get in touch with Future Health Biobank who then help you make payment and finalise all the details. You alert them when your child’s teeth become wobbly and they send a collection box. When your child’s tooth comes out, follow the collection instructions located in the kit box and store in a safe place. Contact our customer care team to arrange a courier collection of the packaged tooth to our laboratory. The phlebotomist will then contact you to discuss a suitable time to visit your house to collect the tooth sample.

For any other questions or queries on the Stem Cells collection and storage process you can check out Future Health Biobank FAQs

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