A growing number of ingenious gift givers have discovered a special kind of present for new babies and their families.
It’s a contribution to help them collect and store the newborn stem cells in their baby’s umbilical cord blood. Banked cord blood provides a unique opportunity to protect that child or another family member’s future health. It’s one of the most valuable gifts anyone can give.
Doctors use the newborn stem cells in cord blood to treat over 75 serious illnesses, such as leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, and other serious blood and immune disorders. As medical research evolves, so will stem cell therapies, with new treatments expected for heart disease, diabetes, brain damage, cerebral palsy, stroke, and other age-related conditions, offering families more and more uses for banked cord blood.
Currently, scientists believe, stem cells similar to those found in cord blood can develop into replacement cells for damaged organs. Clinical trials recently revealed that stem cells can heal heart tissue damaged after a heart attack or repair damaged areas of the liver. Unlocking that amazing potential could generate new therapies for diseases only treated with traditional medical therapies in the past.
Newborn stem cells derived from cord blood are a noncontroversial source of stem cells. They only come from a live birth, have similar characteristics to embryonic stem cells, and are currently emerging as a viable research alternative to embryonic cells.
Newborn stem cells are easy to obtain and immediately available if needed. They are unique because they do not have to match the recipient as closely as bone marrow, offer less chance of being rejected, and can be used by siblings, the child’s mother and other relatives, in many circumstances where bone marrow cells cannot.
There is, however, only one opportunity with each child to collect and store cord blood-right after birth. The procedure is quick, easy, painless, and completely safe for mother and baby.
Families that bank cord blood have peace of mind knowing that related stem cells are immediately available if ever needed. So when you’re considering what to get a loved one’s latest addition, you may care to think about giving a gift that will last a lifetime.