CORD BLOOD BANKING
Boston Healthcare for Women believes patient education is a critical element of superior patient care. One topic we feel particularly strongly about is conveying the option of cord blood preservation to all of our expectant mothers. We are committed to ensuring all of our patients make a fully informed decision on the option of cord blood preservation.
The primary reasons Boston Healthcare for Women is committed to educating patients are:
● Clarification of the status and advantages of cord blood and tissue collection
● Cord blood and tissue are rich in stem cells that could be lifesaving
● The stem cells found in cord blood have already been established as a proven treatment for 80 diseases and have been used in thousands of transplants
● Scientists are working diligently to further the uses of cord blood stem cells (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, autism) that would offer potential benefit to almost every family in the future.
Cord blood and tissue preservation are opportunities available only at the time of birth. There are no second chances. We believe every expectant family should make their decision with as much information as possible. Should you decide to pursue this option, there are many companies that offer this service. If you would like more specific information, please discuss this with us at your next appointment.
Cord Blood and Tissue Stem Cell Preservation
Frequently Asked Questions
What are stem cells?
The blood left inside the umbilical cord after birth contains stem cells. These cells are the building blocks of our blood and immune system. Stem cells are “master cells” of the body with a special ability to heal and create new healthy blood and tissue cells. Cord tissue also contains stem cells that can be saved. Research into the use of these cells shows that they may have healing potential for many common diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
What are newborn stem cells used for?
Newborn stem cells from cord blood and tissue are currently used to treat nearly 80 diseases. Over 35,000 cord blood transplants have been performed worldwide to date. New research is looking at additional ways that stem cells can be used to regenerate or repair damaged cells to treat many common diseases.
What makes umbilical cord blood stem cells unique?
Newborn stem cells can help heal the body by promoting recovery and offer an enormous amount of therapeutic potential. Stem cells from cord blood are unique in several ways:
● They can proliferate, or reproduce, rapidly.
● They experience/2/ lower exposure to environmental toxins.
● They are biologically young.
● They play a role in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases.
What are the odds the odds that I or one of my family members will need a blood transplant that uses newborn stem cells?
Based on the available treatment options today, the odds you may need a stem cell transplant by the age of 70 are 1 in 217. This number could change as research progresses and new diseases are added to the list, giving families even more reasons to consider banking at birth.
How is cord blood processed and stored?
Cord blood is prepared for cryopreservation by removing the red blood cells and plasma, and storing the white blood cells and stem cells for future use. Your child’s cord blood is processed with individual attention in a closed system. Cells are stored in a cryogenic bag with an extra overwrap for the ultimate sample protection during storage.
How is cord tissue processed and stored?
Cord tissue is stored whole to preserve all cells types within the tissue for future use. Since umbilical cord research is still in its early phases and the “right” method of processing is not standardized or known, we store the sample with minimal manipulation so as to not limit your possibilities. That way, your family has access to all cells within the cord and can utilize the right method and the best technology available at the time it is needed.
How long can you store cord blood?
One study looked at samples stored for over 20 years and found no difference in cell viability based on time in storage. Currently, there is no known expiration date as long as samples are stored under proper conditions. As long as samples are stored under proper conditions, it is likely they will be useful indefinitely.
Can my baby use their own stem cells for possible treatment?
Yes. Certain bone marrow disorders, cancers, and anemias may be treated with a patient’s own cells. Certain diseases, like genetic disorders, will need to be treated with stem cells from a donor, such as a sibling. In many cases, an individual will need their own cells for entrance into current clinical trials. For example, there are clinical trials for autism, cerebral palsy, and type 1 diabetes that all require the patients’ own cells (to date).
How much does it cost to preserve cord blood with a family bank?
Generally, the cost for cord blood stem cell preservation has a one time charge on average of $1,700 and an annual storage fee of $150. Some companies offer coupons, payment plans, and gift registries to help make banking affordable.