Table of contents
Experts predict that in the future, one in seven people up to the age of 70 will need stem cells for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases alone! The stem cells contained in umbilical cord blood are very young, vital and uncontaminated.
Today, more and more parents are choosing to have their baby’s umbilical cord blood stored after birth. In 2008, applications of privately stored cord blood increased sharply: by 64% compared to the previous year. If you have your baby’s cord blood stored, your child will have lifelong access to 100 percent matching stem cells, which have been used very successfully in the treatment of various diseases. And in all likelihood, this also applies to his or her siblings.
What Are Stem Cells?
First of all, stem cells are the basic building blocks of our organism. During pregnancy, they “plan and build” the little miracle that is man. And this works extraordinarily cleverly. Because stem cells transform into various other cells when they divide, forming blood, bones, tissue, etc.
Around the time of birth, they migrate in the baby’s body from the liver and spleen through the blood to the bone marrow and other organs. Therefore, they are also contained in the residual blood of the umbilical cord. And can be extracted from there after birth completely painlessly and without risk.
Stem cells accompany us throughout our lives: they become active on their own, carry out repairs, heal injuries and regenerate diseases. Therein lies their potential. Because they can also develop these abilities when transplanted into a sick person. That’s why doctors around the world are using them to treat more than 40 life-threatening diseases, and there may be more than 100 at one point. Cases that have already been tested include various types of cancer, diseases of bone marrow and blood, metabolic and autoimmune diseases.
What’s On It – Or Better, In It – In Umbilical Cord Blood?
Parents who decided to store umbilical cord blood ten years ago were often still considered exotic. Little information existed about the medical options for the general public. In addition, only selected clinics were even approved for the collection.
Today, the situation is quite different. Umbilical cord blood is becoming increasingly important in the treatment of many diseases due to its special capabilities. Worldwide, around 10,000 transplants have already been performed with umbilical cord blood – and the trend is rising.
It should be noted that these applications do not only involve children. About 45% of allogeneic stem cell transplants are performed in adults. Allogeneic means that stem cells from an unrelated donor are used. Reason enough to take a closer look at this elixir of life and its possibilities.
What makes stem cells from umbilical cord blood so unique is the vitality described above. Unlike stem cells from bone marrow, which age with us and therefore also lose their transformative power, stem cells from umbilical cord blood retain their special abilities if they are stored properly.
Depending on the provider and the scope of services, the costs vary from 1,900 to 2,400 euros, including a storage period of 20 years. All cord blood banks offer financing options and installment payment models to expectant parents. If the cord blood of a newborn is needed to treat a sick sibling, some providers store it free of charge.
Stem Cells Help With Diabetes
The use of cord blood for children suffering from juvenile diabetes, for example, is also very promising. A huge advantage is that no rejection reactions are to be expected when the patient’s own stem cells are transplanted. This also applies to siblings: because there is a high degree of matching, a stem cell donation from the umbilical cord blood is very well tolerated by brother or sister.
If Not For Yourself, Then Please Donate!
Parents can also donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood. This is free of charge and possible at public donation registries and in about 150 clinics in Germany. In Europe, donated umbilical cord blood is used about 400 times a year for leukemia alone.
To date, there have been about 100 applications worldwide using a patient’s own umbilical cord blood – most frequently for brain damage and type 1 diabetes. The umbilical cord blood of siblings has been used about 150 times, mainly for blood disorders and leukemia. A prerequisite for these uses was storage at a private cord blood bank. In addition, donated cord blood was used around 10,000 times.