What is the likelihood that my child will need his own cord blood?


The stem cells from cord blood can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, so what’s the likelihood your child will need their own cord blood?

The risk

There are over 85 life threatening diseases that can be treated with cord blood stem cells. This includes conditions such as cancer, metabolic disorders, immune system disorders and blood disorders.

The likelihood that your child will develop one of these diseases and require a stem cell transplant greatly varies and depends on the condition, the circumstances and the severity of the diagnosis.

However, the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood estimates that 1 in 5000 children in the US will require their own umbilical cord blood stem cells by the age of 20. A very small risk indeed.

Yet, the chance that children will need someone else’s umbilical cord stem cells increases to 1 in 2,500. This is due to the ability for some umbilical cord blood to be used to treat certain genetic conditions and so many parents will choose to store the umbilical cord blood stem cells of all their children so there is a close genetic match if an additional source is needed.

Other research suggests this number can increase to 1 in 200 chance that a child will need their own cord blood cells, but this is largely defined by the history of disease within the family.

The solution

The use of stem cells from cord blood has greatly increased in recent years. New research has meant that more than 40,000 umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants have been performed around the world.

And back in 2015, approximately 1 in 3 hematopoietic stem cell transplants were performed using blood from the umbilical blood.

Not only has this paved the way for modern medicine but it’s becoming a more common treatment method for a variety of conditions.



What does this mean for treatment?

There are always numerous research projects underway which are looking for new ways cord blood stem cells can be used to treat diseases such as heart disease, stroke, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal injuries, cystic fibrosis and diabetes to name a few.

The storing of cord blood stem cells can not only secure the future for your own child should they be diagnosed with a condition, but it can also help many others.

Ballen, K., Gluckman, E., & Broxmeyer, H. (2013). Umbilical cord blood transplantation: the first 25 years and beyond. Blood, 122(4), 491-498. doi:10.1182/blood-2013-02-453175,. (2015). Sources of stem cells for transplant. Retrieved 11 October 2015, from /bonemarrowandperipheralbloodstemcelltransplant/stem-cell-transplant-stem-cell-sources 
Nietfeld, J., Pasquini, M., Logan, B., Verter, F., & Horowitz, M. (2008). Lifetime Probabilities of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in the U.S. Biology Of Blood And Marrow Transplantation, 14(3), 316-322.

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