When you take the decision to bank your baby’s cord blood you are ensuring that there is a supply of stem cells available for future treatments, be they regenerative therapies or transplant medicine, for your baby. Depending on the way in which you choose to bank you baby’s umbilical cord blood, the blood may be available for your baby and your family or it may be made available to the general public or used for research to advance treatments available with cord blood.
Banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood can ensure a 100% stem cell match is ready and waiting for them if they ever need it, siblings have a 1:4 chance of being a match to the sample and parents a 1:12 chance. The matches can be carried on and on through the family and by banking your baby’s cord blood you can significantly reduce the waiting time of finding a match if your baby or a loved one needs a stem cell transplant or access to regenerative medicine in the future.
If your baby ever needs a stem cell transplant and you have banked their cord blood, the chances are that the transplant will go much more smoothly as the common rejection problems will not be prevalent. The body will recognise the stem cells of you baby’s cord blood as its own and will not fight to stop them grafting.
For those who come from an ethnic minority background the odds of finding a stem cell match are extremely small, so banking your baby’s cord blood can guarantee a 100% match. For those who are of mixed heritage the odds of finding a match from a public bank are so vanishingly small that they are practically zero. Cord blood banking is an incredibly astute choice for those of mixed ethnicity.
Certain illnesses which run in ethnic communities can be treated using cord blood. Illnesses such as Sickle Cell Anaemia which would usually require a bone marrow transplant can be treated with the baby’s own cord blood. Knowing if your baby is at risk of such illnesses can be beneficial when enquiring about cord blood banking.
Some families may choose to bank cord blood for their baby because a particular illness is already present in the family. Stem cells can be used to treat over 80 illnesses and this is a figure likely to increase with over 4,800 clinical trials taking place around the world to investigate the power of these invaluable cells. It is worth noting that accessing clinical trials is much easier if you have banked your baby’s cord blood with a reputable bank, should the need arise.
Of course no one wants to think that their baby or family may need a stem cell transplant or need access to regenerative medicine. Many parents who have banked their child’s umbilical cord blood see the process as more of an insurance policy, it’s there if it’s ever needed but hopefully not. Parent’s who’ve banked their child’s cord blood have stated that knowing they have stem cells in the bank for their child gives them peace of mind if the worst should happen.