July is our favourite time of the year. Why? Because its Cord Blood Awareness Month which aims to raise awareness of the importance of umbilical cord blood and the amazing powers of newborn stem cells.
We’ve put together some common questions about umbilical cord blood and saving our newborn baby’s stem cells.
Please help us spread the word about umbilical cord blood banking by sharing this article.
What is cord blood?
When your baby is born, the blood left inside the umbilical cord is very special. It contains powerful hematopoietic stem cells, which have a 30-year history of helping to save lives through transplant medicine.
There’s also exciting research using cord blood for regenerative medicine, which aims to harness the powerful cells inside to help the body heal itself.
What is cord tissue?
Your baby’s umbilical cord is made of tissue. This tissue is home to several cell types, including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which scientists think may be great at acting like a body’s emergency medical team.
Umbilical cord tissue is full of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), one of the most widely researched cell types in the rapidly evolving area of regenerative medicine.
MSCs have the ability to respond to inflammation and help repair tissue damage primarily by communicating with other cells in the body via sending and receiving signals.
What is newborn stem cell preservation?
Both cord blood and cord tissue are rich sources of powerful stem cells. Newborn stem cell preservation is the process of saving the blood and tissue from the umbilical cord, after birth, for potential future use.
What makes newborn stem cells so special?
Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of over 80 conditions as part of a stem cell transplant.
Today, stem cell research continues to evolve, bringing new hope to patients and their families.
Who can potentially use my newborn’s cord blood?
When a patient is treated with their own cells, it is defined as an autologous transplant; if they receive cells from a donor the transplant is allogenic.
In the UK, parents can choose to store their baby’s cord blood privately, or donate to a public bank. Private banking is the only way to guarantee that matching stem cells are available should your child or matched relative ever need a haematopoietic stem cell transplant. It is particularly important to store privately if a member of your family has a condition such as sickle cell disease, which can be cured with matching HSCs. Some families also choose to store cord blood to treat an older relative who has received a blood or immune disease diagnosis.
For other conditions however, there may be a genetic predisposition to that disease, and in these cases a patient may not be able to use his or her own stem cells. In this situation a matched sibling’s stem cells would be the first choice before looking for alternative donors.
For most families, cord blood and tissue storage is an insurance policy they hope never to use. The steady rise in life-enhancing as well as life-saving stem cell therapies, however, suggests we may all use regenerative treatments one day.
What does newborn stem cell preservation cost?
We have a one-time processing fee for cord blood and cord tissue of £2,450, which includes 25 years of storage, two years free insurance, and free shipping anywhere in the world. Cord blood only, fully inclusive, is £1950. There are no annual storage fees to pay.
To request a brochure please click here.
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.