By having the cord blood sample stored for future use, you can protect your child long after he or she reaches adult life too. The odds of a person needing some form of stem cell transplant by age 70 are 1 in 200. Stored or banked cord blood would be the first place to turn in this scenario. Storing cord blood goes beyond the chance to save the life of your baby; it could also protect your entire family against illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma.
Watch Video: Why Parents Choose to Save the Cord Blood at Birth
While it may make sense that only parents who come from a family with a history of cancer of other serious diseases should consider storing cord blood, we recommend that all expectant mothers store their baby's umbilical cord blood.
The reason? Your family history can give you immense insight into what to expect for your child's health, but it is not the only factor in a person's well-being.
Leukemia – the most common of all childhood cancers – and other life-threatening illnesses can appear with no warning for the parents or the children affected. You may come from a family with peak health and no history of illness, yet a sudden and fast-moving disease, disorder or illness can strike. We believe that you should expect for the best but prepare for the worst.
Luke was born a healthy baby boy to parents Rachel and Colby Fryar. As Luke continued to develop over the months, it became apparent that he wasn't reaching the same levels as quickly as other children at his age. His motor skills seemed impaired, particularly on his right side, and he was behind on his speech development as well.
The Fryars' doctor diagnosed Luke with Cerebral Palsy. They called the cord blood bank where they had stored Luke's cord blood stem cells and put Luke on the list for a transplant. At the present time, Luke has seen significant improvements to his motor skills and speech since receiving his stem cells three years ago.
Cord blood banking is also beneficial if you are a family with more than one child. It can be very challenging for people to find a stem cell match, another person registered to donate stem cells that is compatible to the person who needs them. Many people don't register at all, and the ones who do likely have another type of blood.
When one sibling gets sick, there is a significant chance that the blood match they need resides in their brother or sister. One of the positives of using cord blood is that it is likely a donor match to your other children as well. So, the cord blood from one child can aid the others if they happen to get sick in the future.
Take for example, the story of Joseph and Darlene Davis. This family has given birth to a son named Joseph Jr. He was a bright and charismatic child, but playing is hard for him because of the pain he often found himself in.
Joseph Jr. had been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. The only thing that would allow him to lead the life of a normal child was a stem cell transplant. The family searched the public banks for either a bone marrow or blood match for him, but unfortunately, they turned up empty handed. The future was not looking bright.
Then in a twist of fate, Darlene found out she was pregnant with a second child. The family was elated; this was their chance to give Joseph Jr. the stem cells he needed!
Doctors were able to destroy the sickle cell anemia-carrying cells in the little boy's body and replace them with the healthy and vibrant cells of the bouncing new baby, effectively eliminating his sickle cell anemia for good. And it was all possible because of cord blood banking.
Watch Video: Simple Steps to Cord Blood Banking for Expecting Parents