When you are pregnant, you don’t really think much past the birth do you? I know I just focused on getting to that point of having my baby in my arms. When I was writing my birth plan, I filled in a few postnatal sections, such as feeding method and wanting to have skin to skin, but past the first few hours I didn’t have much of a plan. I certainly wasn’t thinking long term.
Yet collecting stem cells at birth can help to protect your family from over 80 conditions and diseases, including Leukaemia, Anaemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Spinal Cord injuries and Cerebral Palsy. Current research into their use for MS, diabetes and strokes is underway, so these could also be possibilities for stem cell use in the future.
Stem Cells are pretty amazing. They have the potential to develop into all sorts of cells – blood, bone, tissue and organ. They can easily be taken from umbilical cord and tissue at birth – tissue which is usually disposed of! It is non invasive, and doesn’t hurt or inconvenience you or your baby in any way.
Just imagine if babies born with cerebral palsy could be healed by their own stem cells – what an incredible medical advance that would be! Smart Cells are the first private UK stem cell storage company to have released stored stem cell units for use in the treatment of children with life-threatening illnesses, and have released the greatest number of samples for use in transplants from the UK. So this stuff is already happening, and will only continue to be developed and built upon.
If I was having another baby now would I consider stem cell collection at birth? Absolutely. And when I am a qualified midwife, I will be making sure that the pregnant women in my care know that this is an option that is available to them too.