Regenerative medicine

Storing your baby’s stem cells at birth is a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect your family against serious illness or disease. It is important that all families are fully informed on the benefits of storing their babies’ stem cells before making this important decision.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are known as the master cells of the body, because they have the amazing ability to become a specialised cell such as blood, muscle or bone. For over 20 years now, families have been able to cryo-preserve cord blood stem cells for potential future medical use.

The first stem cell transplant using stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood was in 1988 for a little boy suffering from a serious blood disorder called Fanconi’s Anaemia. Since then, with the advancements in regenerative medicine, there are now over 70 blood related diseases and immune disorders being treated through stem cell therapy including leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and thalassemia.

Current research in regenerative medicine is resulting in tremendous discoveries in science, technology, health and medicine, and show great potential for improving methods to diagnose and prevent multiple diseases, as well as develop innovative treatments for injuries and illnesses. Today, there are over 4 000 clinical trials underway looking at potential future cellular therapies for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, bone reconstruction and -neuro-degenerative diseases.

How are the stem cells collected?

Cord blood collection is a simple process and poses no risk to mother or baby. Immediately after the baby’s delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and the baby is separated from the cord. A needle is inserted into the umbilical cord vein and drawn by gravity into the collection bag. The process of collecting cord blood is non-invasive, painless and generally takes just 3-5 minutes to complete. Once a sample is collected, it is transported to the laboratory for processing and cryo-preservation.

Why store at birth

Currently there are no public stem cells banks on the African continent, and there is 1:100 000 change of finding an unrelated donor; which can be a lengthy and expensive process. Storing your baby’s cord blood privately, ensures that these valuable stem cells are immediately accessible for your baby and family should you need them. A baby’s umbilical cord stem cells will remain a 100% match for them and there is also a chance these stem cells could be a match for another family member. Should these cells be needed for transplant, having a 100% match reduces the risk of tissue rejection (Graft versus host disease). Stem cells found in the umbilical cord are at their purest form as they have not been exposed to any illnesses, making them the preferred source of stem cells for transplant.

Storing your baby’s stem cells at birth is a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect your family against serious illness or disease. It is important that all families are fully informed on the benefits of storing their babies’ stem cells before making this important decision.

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