1. What is cord blood and why is it valuable?
Cord blood is the blood that is found in the umbilical cord and placenta after a child is delivered. Unless you choose to bank your child's valuable cord blood, these valuable cells will be thrown away after the birth of your child. Cord blood is special because it contains high concentrations of medically important cells known as stem cells. There is only once in the lifetime of a child that his/her cord blood is available for banking. After the birth of your child, you have the opportunity to save and preserve these valuable cells in the event that your child or someone else in your family needs them later on in life to treat a disease.
2. What are stem cells?
Stem cells are early stage cells which have the capability of differentiating into many different cell types, and have much medical significance.
3. Why are stem cells medically important?
Stem cells are currently used to treat over 50 life-threatening diseases, including cancers and genetic disorders. Stem cells are found in high concentrations in a child's cord blood and can be used at any time later on in the life of your child, if required, to treat diseases.
Your child's stem cells are a perfect match to your child, and in the event that your child ever needs a stem cell transplant in the future, there is no need to find a bone marrow donor. It is often difficult to find a matching bone marrow donor, even if a donor is found, there is a risk that the graft will be rejected. By banking your child's own stem cells now, you are saving your child's precious cord blood stem cells and insuring your child's health.
4. What types of diseases can be treated with stem cells are use stem cells as part of the treatment?
Stem cells are early stage cells which have the capability of differentiating into many different cell types. Stem cells have been used in the treatment of numerous diseases, including cancers and genetic disorders.
5. How does cord blood stem cells compare to other sources of stem cells?
Cord blood stem cells from your baby will be a perfect match to him/her when it is needed. Harvesting of cord blood is safer and more efficient than harvesting bone marrow from a donor. Once banked, it will become readily available whenever needed, with little or no chance of rejection. Furthermore, cord blood stem cells are not only a perfect match to your baby, but it has an increased probability of a match for the baby's siblings and can potentially be used for the baby's parents or grandparents.
6. What role will stem cells play in the future of medicine?
At the moment, stem cells are used in the treatment of over 50 cancers, immune disorders, and genetic disorders. As technology progresses, it is likely that the field of stem cells therapy will become more advanced, and the future uses of stem cells can be limitless. Research in stem cell therapy include usage for treatment of heart diseases, spinal cord damage, stroke, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy.
7. What is Graft versus Host Disease and how does cord blood banking prevent this?
Graft versus Host Disease is a disease which can occur after a bone marrow transplant. By banking a child's cord blood, this disease is prevented because the cord blood is a perfect match to your child and is not donated from a different individual. This will increase the survival rate of the recipient and ensure a greater chance that the transplant will be successful.
8. Why choose to store your child's cord blood stem cells?
Your child's cord blood stem cells are only present during birth. By choosing to save your child's cord blood stem cells, you will have the peace of mind that these precious cells are preserved and readily available in the event that your child or another family member needs them in the future. If the cord blood stem cells are not banked, these precious cells will be discarded after birth. By banking your child's cord blood, you will be able to take advantege of the medical treatments that are currently available using stem cells as well as emerging stem cells treatments that will become available in the future.
9. At what time is the cord blood collected?
Cord blood is collected by your physician from the umbilical cord and placenta immediately after the birth of your child.
10. How is the cord blood collected?
After your child is born, the physician will cut the umbilical cord. Your physician will collect the cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta using special blood bags. The blood bags and all necessary supplies for proper cord blood collection is provided in Healthcord's Cord Blood Collection Kit. After the cord blood is collected, your physician will package it in the Healthcord Cord Blood Kit for delivery to Healthcord for processing and banking.
11. What is HLA matching?
HLA matching is used to ensure that there is a match between a donor and recipient to prevent the chance of rejection of the donated cells. If you choose to bank your child's cord blood, you will eliminate the possibility that the donated stem cells are not HLA matched to your child. Stem cells from your child will always be a perfect match to you child. By banking your child's cord blood, your child's own stem cells will be ready for use at all times during the lifetime of your child.
12. Can my child's cord blood stem cells be used for siblings or other family members?
There is a high probability that your child's cord blood stem cells can be used for siblings and other family members. Your child's cord blood stem cells will be a perfect match to your child. However, it may also be very useful for other members of your family. There is a 25% chance that your child's cord blood can be used for one of his/her siblings, and there is also a high chance that your child's cord blood stem cells can be used for parents or grandparents.
13. Should everyone store cord blood?
There is always a chance that a child or other family member may develop an illness or cancer which will require stem cell therapy. Banking a child's cord blood is a preventative measure for peace of mind and security. Once your child's precious cord blood stem cells are banked, they are safe, they are a perfect match to your child, and they are ready for immediate use upon request in the event that the stem cells are ever required.
14. Who has the right to use the cord blood?
Your child's cord blood is reserved for your family's use, and you have full control over its usage while your child is a minor. Once your child reaches the age of majority, the stem cells belong to your child, and you child will have full control over the use and storage of the stem cells.
15. Why is it beneficial for my child to have his/her own stem cells for future use?
In the event that your child ever requires stem cells, it is often difficult or even impossible to find a perfect match from a bone marrow donor or the umbilical cord blood from another donor. Your child's own stem cells are a perfect match to your child with no chance of rejection. By banking your child's cord blood, you are ensuring that your child will have a supply of his/her own stem cells which are a perfect match to himself/herself which can be used for transplantation and therapy without fear of rejection or the inability to find a matching donor in time to treat the disease.