While our bodies are made up of many types of cells, does it ever amaze you that all that diversity starts as just a single type of cell when we are just sperm and egg? There is so much we don’t know yet about stem cells, but the little that scientists have managed to put together shows that our lives could actually depend on stem cells and the preservation of them. Although still considered relatively expensive compared to not saving stem cells, their preservation is fast becoming every new parent’s concern.
Consider the following facts around the storage benefits and technicalities that go into keeping stem cells for future use.
1. Stem cells can repair any part of the body.
They are the basic building blocks, foundation even, for the various muscles that make up a perfect body. Even wounded soldiers could get their limbs regenerated once storage and research have reached the levels theoretically possible. Laboratory experiments have shown that body organs can be cultivated from stem cells. Imagine not having to wait for a heart donor anymore, when one can be grown in the laboratory.
2. The stem cell medical industry is not totally new
Since 1957, doctors have been able to transplant stem cells from either umbilical cord sources where their concentration is high, or from centrifuged blood to use in preparing cures for injured recipients. Although it may seem new and revolutionary, only the latter stands true. There is way too much left to discover about their potential in the medical industry.
3. To date, more than 1 million transplants have proved successful
You’d probably want to know if something has ever worked before it gets tried on your right? Well, how about a million successful applications of the stem cell treatment in various medical procedures. Every day more people’s lives are saved, extended and made whole again with a sprinkle of stem cells effectively healing their broken bodies.
4. Stem cell preservation is the best chance to 100% match
When a condition develops for which stem cells for regenerative purposes are the best route, the perfect source for anyone would be their own preserved stem cells collected at birth. Through cord banking, you can assure your child and even extended family members a healthier future. Although still expensive, the storage of your baby’s stem cells from their umbilical cord is perhaps the best investment that one can make for their health.
5. Stem cell storage will only get more affordable with time
Although we are still decades away from a case where there would be just as many cord and stem cell banks as there are banks that keep your money, the costs of storing your baby’s stem cells are already falling. At the time of writing, the cost of keeping a vial of stem cells reserved for medical purposes is becoming more affordable, public reservoirs are being established, and with them come renewed hope.
6. There are drawbacks you should know too
Although not as interesting as the facts explained above, things do not always go as planned when storing cord blood and stem cells. Sometimes the blood stored is found to be too little in quantity so as to collect enough stem cells for the intended user to use in the future. Most of this blood is discarded. This is not the only blood that gets thrown away, sadly.
7. Most of the stored blood will never get used.
Just as motor vehicle insurance works, you only get to make a claim when you are involved in an accident. What then if you never bump into another vehicle, or cause as little as a scratch to your insured vehicle? Most children go on to live healthy long lives even when their umbilical cord blood has been stored in cord banks. For most parents, this causes a lot of confusion when deciding whether or not to invest in the storage in the first place.
8. Stored blood can be used by other people apart from the donor
Even when your child grows and leads a healthy life, one without any need of the blood or stem cells stored for them, they can still be put to use to help a family member. The chances of a successful match being found within your family make all the investments in stem cell storage worth it. So while the primary person for whom the blood is saved is the donor, consider that even you could be saved by the blood taken from the umbilical cord.
Every day there are more discoveries being stumbled across, all making the stem cell preservation industry a lot more interesting and less clouded with mystery. For every disadvantage that people share and spend time thinking about, a hundred advantages show up and make it almost a prerequisite for you to consider stem cell banking. It could save your life.