News stories and reports are increasing on the topic of the umbilical cord and stem cell research. In many parts of the world, saving a newborn’s umbilical cord is common practice, often for spiritual or cultural reasons. However, research is growing that suggests the umbilical cord blood has very powerful medical benefits as well.
The blood of the umbilical cord contains very powerful stem cells, which are unable to be attained by any other means. If these cells are harvested, they can serve numerous different life-saving purposes for the recipient, particularly if there is damage to muscle tissue or blood cells. Storing the baby’s umbilical cord at a cord blood bank can help mitigate against certain types of potentially life-threatening conditions.
Here are some examples of true stories showing the benefits of cord blood and its impact on lives.
Because Mrs. Murphy had a family history of leukemia, the Murphys banked the cord blood of Katie, their newborn baby. At 1 year old, Katie was diagnosed with a rare condition called hypotonia, affecting muscle development and motor skills. In 2010, Katie was given a transfusion of her own cord blood, and as a result, her recovery has been progressing incredibly well.
There is also the case of a boy named Quentin, whose transfusion from his younger sister’s cord blood sent his own leukemia into remission since 2010.
11-year old Barrett was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. His parents had the forsight to store his umbilical cord at his birth, and they decided to enroll Barrett in clinical trials in the hopes that cutting edge cord blood treatment might benefit him. Barrett’s insulin requirement has steadily decreased since a one-time infusion of his own cord blood.
Although stories like these can seem to be merely anecdotal rather than proof of scientific fact, research,evidence and educational resources are growing. Parents and parents-to-be are looking into the data and resources more and more to educated themselves.
There are pros and cons of any medical decision, but in this case the main consideration is the cost. Although it is not particularly expensive, there is a cost requirement for long term storage of cord blood.
For parents who are expecting a new baby, it may be worthwhile to research into banking the baby’s cord blood. Take advantage of the educational resources available as well as your doctor’s recommendations.
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