- Think of stem cells as the building blocks of the human body because they have the ability to transform into different types of cells. It is their power to create and regenerate organs, blood, tissue, and the immune system that make them so important.
- Stem cells can be found throughout the body – in your bone marrow, or fatty tissue, for instance. These can and have been used in treating illnesses, but it’s the younger, more flexible stem cells that are found in your new born baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue that offer your child advanced scientific opportunities for health. They can be collected and stored at birth in a painless, non-invasive procedure and then stored for future use. If your child ever has a health issue that requires treatment with stem cells, they will be readily available as a potential treatment option.
THE GOAL OF A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT / BLOOD STEM CELL TRANSPLANT IS TO TREAT AND/OR CURE CERTAIN TYPES OF BLOOD RELATED DISEASES.
Banked umbilical cord blood can potentially provide easier access to a stem cell transplant.
Studies have shown that cord blood transplants can be performed in cases where the donor and the recipient are only partially matched, depending, for example, on the number of stem cells in the collection. In contrast, bone marrow transplants require a perfect match in most cases
Your baby’s cord blood stem cells will always be:
using your own stem cells
using stem cells from an identical twin
using stem cells from biological parents
using your sibling’s stem cells
using an unrelated donor’s stem cells (recruited through the South African Bone Marrow Registry)
The good news is that with umbilical cord blood stem cells, you don’t always need a perfect match
This increases your chances of finding a matching donor.
National Cord Blood Program, http://www.nationalcordbloodprogram.org/patients/ncbp_diseases.pdf