Guest post by Julie Pepper Lim, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Meritage Medical Network.
Cord blood banking means preserving the newborn stem cells found in the blood of the umbilical cord and the placenta during birth. There is still blood left in the afterbirth that is rich in stem cells and has medical value.
Since cord blood stem cells are younger, they have less exposure to illness and other environmental factors. There is no risk involved in the collection to either the baby or the mother. Though the statistics for the need for stem cell transplant by age 20 is only 3 in 5,000 and only 80 diseases that cord blood can help, it could be a most valuable resource if your child is one of the three.
Though the 80 diseases cited are rare among children, as people age, the odds of having a stem cell transplant increase dramatically, so having cord blood in the bank can be of immediate help.
Stem cell transplant can help with inherited disorders of an auto-immune type, as well as treat pediatric neurological disorders such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), apraxia, ataxia, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, autism, in-utero stroke, traumatic brain injury, and similar conditions. 2 in 1,000 full-term births are born with a brain injury and 2 in 100 preemies (2%) have cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders. 1 in 68 children in the U.S. can benefit from trials of cord blood therapy.
You can read really exciting stories of families that were helped by storing their child’s cord blood here.
For a history of how stem cell therapy for brain disorders started, you can go here.
There’s a wealth of information on this topic and where the FDA is on all of this research, as well as questions parents can ask of clinics offering stem cell therapy for autism. The best place to find solid published research is in peer-reviewed journals, like these: pubmed or googlescholar.
Stem Cell Therapy for autism is still considered an experimental treatment under research, but there seem to be a lot of good reasons why storing Cord Blood might be helpful, so why not do your research this month, and see if banking cord blood could be for you and your family?