When you’re pregnant and trying to make an informed decision for your family, cutting through all of the static can be a challenge. You take in opinions from family members, friends, and experts; you page through countless books and endless online information, but often you wind up even more conflicted than before.
To help with your decision on whether to bank cord blood or not, I put together a list of four important factors to consider. They ultimately helped me decide to bank my baby’s cord blood. I hope they’ll help with your decision too.
1. Cord blood stem cells are being used today.
It’s not a thing of the future: cord blood stem cells can currently be used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, including certain cancers.1 Want to see one example? Meet a mother who used cord blood stem cells from one son to help treat another son’s leukemia.
2. Your baby’s generation may have new options.
It’s an exciting time for cord blood and no surprise that researchers are working hard to find out how else cord blood stem cells can be used. Here are three research studies — all using a child’s own cord blood stem cells — that you should know about.
Autism: An ongoing FDA Approved Phase I Clinical Research Study at Duke University is infusing patients diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder with their own cord blood stem cells. The goal is to determine the safety of a single intravenous infusion of autologous (self) umbilical cord blood in pediatric patients with Autism. This study also aims to determine which outcome measures best capture any impact these stem cell infusions might have on the child’s condition so those measures can be used in a possible future study. More details here.
Cerebral palsy: Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg and her team at Duke University Medical Center recently completed a research study aimed to determine if cord blood stem cells may help children with cerebral palsy. More details about the study here.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS): The Mayo Clinic is conducting the first stem cell clinical research trial for pediatric congenital heart disease in the United States. The study is looking at safety and feasibility of using a newborn’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells as a potential additional treatment for the management of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). More details here.
Want to know more? Watch Morey Kraus, ViaCord’s Chief Scientific Officer talk to me about research and cord blood banking.
3. Delay or collect? You don’t have to choose!
It’s a common misconception that you have to choose between either delay clamping OR collecting cord blood/cord tissue. The fact is you can do both. ViaCord explains in this blog post.
4. You can collect with a c-section.
Whether you have a standard delivery or a c-section, the process of collecting your newborn’s cord blood is safe, painless, and non-disruptive to you, your baby, and your birth plan.
As parents, of all the things we wish for our growing family, good health tops the list. Even if you have an excellent family medical history, I encourage you to consider making cord blood banking part of your family’s plan. When it comes to your family you’ll know what’s best.
My advice: listen to yourself. As I say in my book, Mommy IQ, “Trust your instincts. They’re there for a reason.”