DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) According to consumer health digest, 90% of cord blood stem cells are treated as medical waste, but there are some reasons the powerful adaptable cells should not be discarded:
“There’s no better cells than your own,” said Dr. Claude Ashley, a SAMC Pediatrician.
Cord blood stem cells are immune cells that have not been given a job yet. They treat nearly 80 diseases, including different blood born cancers like leukemia. They can be transplanted into patients to replace ones lost during chemotherapy. For that reason, some parents choose to store the stem cells from their newborns umbilical cord.
"You don't have to take immune depressive therapy because your body will not reject them," explained Ashley.
Storing the cells is expensive costing a couple thousand dollars up front, but can make a great gift option for babies.
"It’s like an insurance policy you never have to use," mentioned Ashley. “They might be giving the gift of life and the companies make this very easy with payment plans."
"Every company charges something different,” mentioned Joyce Riley, SAMC education coordinator& clinical nurse specialist. "There's an initial fee and then there's a storage fee that you can pay monthly or annually."
Cord blood stem cells have no shelf life as long as they are stored properly. There are private companies that store for families,
"Can be used for subsequent children, family members," said Ashley.
Or you can store publically if you choose to help and pay for an unrelated person in need.
"The only place in the state of Alabama that does that is in Montgomery," added Ashley.
Those interested should talk to their OBGYN at least one to two months before the due date. A reputable company can send you a kit to harvest the cells. You will bring that same kit with you when you deliver the baby. After delivery your OBGYN and the company will handle the rest.
Harvesting the cord blood stem cells does not hurt the mother or child.