The following is both a sponsored post and a sort of public service announcement.
Most people know that it is possible for new parents to save their newborn's umbilical cord blood, in case that cord blood can someday save someone's life. But if you're like me, you're probably a little shaky on the details of cord blood banking.
Today, I visited the Cryo-Cell website to learn a little bit more about cord blood banking. (Cyro-Cell, by the way, is a family umbilical cord blood bank.) I read that cord blood can often be used as an alternative to bone marrow when a stem cell transplant is needed.
I wasn't even very sure what exactly a stem cell transplant was, so I had to do a little more research to find out! A stem cell transplant is often necessary for someone with a disease that causes their bone marrow to quit producing health stem cells. The purpose of a stem cell transplant is to get a person's body to start making healthy white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets again.
Often, the stem cell transplant is done with bone marrow from a healthy donor. But the process required to donate bone marrow is invasive and often painful. Collecting cord blood is more simple, and does not cause pain to the mother or the infant. If the infant ever needs a stem cell transplant in his lifetime, using the blood from his own umbilical cord can work a lot better than a bone marrow transplant. Plus, if the child's sibling ever needs a stem cell transplant, there's at least a twenty-five percent chance that the sibling can also use that umbilical cord blood!
Quite a few families who banked their infant's cord blood with Cryo-Cell have actually had to use the cord blood for their child. The website talks about one young couple that was just starting their family. They already had a two-year-old son, and the mother had just become pregnant with a second child. Then they learned that their little boy had T-cell lymphoma. The little boy started on chemotherapy, but it wasn't working, and doctors told the parents that the child's best chance for life was if he got a stem cell transplant.
Since by then the baby was due soon, the parents decided to save the new baby's cord blood. Fortunately, the cord blood was a match for the toddler! Only thirteen days after the stem cell transplant, the little boy's white cell count started doubling. He was able to leave the hospital twenty-one days after the transplant, and, so far, has never had a relapse.
Other children have used cord blood for stem cell transplants to help treat cerebral palsy, neuroblastama, Ischemic Brain Injury, sickle cell anemia, and diabetes. Most have been given their own cord blood, but many others recieved cord blood from a sibling, and a few even recieved cord blood from an aunt or uncle.
I don't know about you, but all this is extremely interesting to me. Our bodies really are awesome contraptions, aren't they? Its fascinating to think that, at birth, our body provides us with something that may someday save our lives or the lives of our loved ones.
Anyway, if you'd like to get the latest updates from Cyro-Cell about what they are doing, there are two things you can do.
You can join Cyro-Cell on Facebook, where you can get updates on events that Cyro-Cell will be involved in, add your baby's picture to the fan page, and more. Or you can follow Cyro-Cell on Twitter. You'll get updates on their latest discounts and deals. You'll also get updates on stem cell success stories. For instance, I just watched a video there about a teenaged girl who was born legally blind, and who, after receiving injections of umblilcal cord stem cells, has nearly 20/20 vision! Its a true story... it was on the news! The kid is now learning to drive... and her vision is improving every day! Now, you gotta admit, that is a miracle!