Expectant parents know just how much work goes into planning the arrival of a new baby! Baby showers, prenatal checkups, lamaze classes… the “to-do” list goes on and on. While there are numerous fun and exciting activities to plan for, parents should also consider long term ways to safeguard the health of your baby, and the rest of your family, throughout their lifetime.
Cord blood and cord tissue banking provide a number of advantages for families looking for protection against future illnesses, diseases and conditions. By banking your baby’s cord blood and cord blood tissue, you gain access to potentially life-saving stem cells that can be used to treat your child or a compatible family member.
Cord Blood Compatibility
Cord blood and cord blood tissue stem cells will always be a perfect match to the baby they come from. Siblings from the same two parents have about a 75% chance of being compatible with the baby’s cord blood stem cells. Parents have a 25% chance of being a suitable match to their baby’s stem cells. Understanding the opportunities and potential limitations of cord blood compatibility can help you make informed decisions about cord blood and cord tissue banking.
For example, if your baby is born with what is thought to be a genetically-born disease or condition, their own stem cells would not be considered for the treatment of that condition, because your baby’s stem cells could carry the same genetic information that may be a factor in the condition or disease.
However, a close sibling’s stem cells may be a suitable match, and useful for the treatment of a genetically-born condition, so parents who plan on having more children in the future should consider banking those childrens’ cord blood and cord blood tissue as well.
Cord blood plays a major role in the treatment of over 80 diseases and conditions, with hundreds of clinical trials underway to identify more life-saving opportunities using cord blood stem cells. Doctors and researchers have been harnessing the incredible power of cord blood stem cells since 1988, following the first successful cord blood transplant for the treatment of Fanconi Anemia. In the years since, tens of thousands of patients around the world have benefitted from the incredible promise of cord blood stem cell transplants.
Cord blood compatibility plays a large role in determining the effectiveness of a stem cell transplant. Prior to performing an allogeneic stem cell transplant (using stem cells from a donor) a doctor will require a test called HLA typing to determine if the stem cells suitably match the transplant recipient.
What is HLA Typing?
HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) typing is a test given prior to a stem cell transplant to assess patient compatibility with donated stem cells. This test is necessary even if the patient is a close genetic relative of the stem cell donor because of the risk of graft-versus-host-disease, a potentially fatal disease that occurs as a result of the body rejecting transplanted stem cells.
The HLA system is a group of genes that play a critical role in the immune system. The HLA gene system has the ability to form proteins that are found on the exterior of nearly all cells in the body. These HLA proteins are programmed to recognize other compatible proteins. If an incompatible cell is detected the body will treat the “invading” cells as a threat, and may attack and damage donated tissue. This is why finding a suitable HLA-matched cord blood unit is so critical in the stem cell transplant process. Otherwise, your body may inadvertently destroy the precious, life-giving stem cells meant to treat you!
Saving your baby's cord blood will provide the best chance of a suitable HLA match for your family.
Receiving an HLA typing test is a relatively simple process that typically involves swabbing the inside of your cheek, or drawing a blood sample from your arm. Insurance may cover HLA typing, so you should contact your insurance provider to find out if you’re eligible to receive compensation for some or all of the cost.
Public Donation vs. Private Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood donation is offered publicly and cord blood banking is obtained through private cord blood banks such as MiracleCord. Public cord blood registries receive donated cord blood that may be accessed by the general public. However, 80% of all publicly donated cord blood units are not stored for future transplantation. Public cord blood banks often discard the donated cord blood, or sell it to research facilities.
Many parents opt to privately bank their baby’s cord blood and cord tissue due to the difficulty in finding a compatible stem cell unit outside of their immediate family. Saving your baby’s precious cord blood and cord tissue stem cells can provide your family with a lifetime of protection.
MiracleCord offers affordable payment plans and storage options making private cord blood and cord tissue banking more accessible to families.
To learn more about cord blood banking, download our Free Info Kit now, or call us at 888-743-2673 for more information.