Now, parents are finally provided with a choice: to save their baby’s cord blood, or in some cases donate it to a public bank.
In 1995, the Cord Blood Registry in affiliation with the University of Arizona and Dr. David Harris made Family Cord Blood Banking broadly available throughout the United States, providing expecting parents with a choice to save these valuable and unique stem cells for their family.
Prior to 1993, cord blood stem cells were only saved for research or immediate transplantation, generally, for a sibling. Parents did not have a choice to save or donate their child’s umbilical cord blood, it was simply thrown out at birth with the placenta as biological waste.
Your baby’s stem cells are unique. They are the only genetic match for your baby and are genetically closer to other family members than unrelated stem cells. They are also unique in that they are the earliest, most immature stem cells, safely available. When collected and stored at birth, there has been no indication of further aging while in storage.
Cord blood stem cells are stored before environmental damage can occur. Stem cells cryogenically stored at birth protect them from later exposure to bacterial, viral and other environmental factors that your child and the stem cells in their body may be exposed to. Many diseases, in otherwise healthy children, that require treatment using stem cells may be “sparked” by these environmental factors or in combination. Cord blood stem cells saved from a healthy baby at birth have been protected form these same factors and have not “aged”.
Today, if a “back-up” blood or immune system is needed due to damage from chemotherapy or other environmental factors, these stored stem cells are immediately available and require less stringent matching than bone marrow. Stem cell research is rapidly evolving and may hold additional future promise. While science is just now discovering new uses for these unique cells, it will be years before their clinical application is fully known.
The largest, single occupational group of CBR’s clients are healthcare professionals. Many of these clients are very knowledgeable in cord blood stem cells and understand their value and potential, providing Peace of Mind. Additionally, these clients know CBR, have an appreciation for CBR’s quality systems, and have confidence in the methods used in collection, processing, and storage.
Saving cord blood stem cells may provide a “second chance” for a new blood and immune system as healthy as the one your child was born with and it may be compatible to other family members.