A Life-sav­ing In­vest­ment

Keep­ing your baby’s cord blood in a fam­ily cord blood bank en­sures your chil­dren’s ready ac­cess to their own stem cells.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Cordlife Special - For more in­for­ma­tion on cord blood bank­ing, con­tact Cordlife Sin­ga­pore at 6238-0808, or visit www.cordlife.com/sg.

Stor­ing cord blood can be a life­sav­ing in­vest­ment, with statis­tics show­ing that one in ev­ery 217 per­sons1 may need a stem cell treat­ment in their life­time. Stem cell trans­plants can be used to treat over 85 types of dis­eases2, which in­clude leukaemia, lym­phoma, tha­lassemia, as well as cer­tain meta­bolic and im­muno­log­i­cal disor­ders. On­go­ing clin­i­cal tri­als are also un­der­way to use cord blood to treat autism, Type 1 di­a­betes, Alzheimer’s dis­ease, spinal cord in­jury and many more3.

Cord blood is rich in Hae­matopoi­etic Stem Cells (HSCs) which play an im­por­tant role in re­plen­ish­ing blood and re­gen­er­at­ing the im­mune sys­tem. How­ever, the odds of find­ing a match for a trans­plant within the same racial group is around 1 in 20,0004. This is why stor­ing your baby’s cord blood can be ben­e­fi­cial. Should the need for a stem cell trans­plant arise, your child will have ready ac­cess to his or her own stem cells, which are a 100 per cent ge­netic match, thus elim­i­nat­ing the risk of post-trans­plant re­jec­tion.

Keep­ing cord blood can also help to save more than one life. Com­pared to other sources of stem cells like bone mar­row, cord blood stem cells are younger and more prim­i­tive. This means they are able to re­gen­er­ate healthy cells at a faster rate, and pose a lower risk of re­jec­tion when trans­planted to a matched fam­ily mem­ber. Cord blood stem cells are also eas­ier to col­lect, and the process is pain- and risk-free to both mother and child.

Ac­cord­ing to a study, trans­plants us­ing cord blood from a matched fam­ily mem­ber in­creases the sur­vival rate by up to

87 per cent5, as com­pared to a non-re­lated donor.

What to look out for in a fam­ily cord blood bank

Fa­cil­i­ties which of­fer the op­ti­mum en­vi­ron­ment to pre­serve cord blood stem cells have be­come more com­mon to­day, as stem cells have grown to be an in­creas­ingly es­sen­tial pro­ce­dure in treat­ing ma­jor ill­nesses.

Be­sides pric­ing, you will also need to fac­tor in the fam­ily cord blood bank’s ac­cred­i­ta­tions, the con­di­tion of their fa­cil­i­ties, and the pro­cess­ing meth­ods of your child’s cord blood to en­sure its us­abil­ity in the fu­ture.

Ac­cred­i­ta­tions

Look for a fam­ily cord blood bank that has ob­tained in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tions from or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Blood Banks (AABB) and Foun­da­tion for the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion of Cel­lu­lar Ther­apy (FACT).

Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions from such or­gan­i­sa­tions are tes­ta­ment to the qual­ity stan­dards of the fam­ily cord blood bank’s lab­o­ra­tory which pro­cesses the cord blood, as well as the fa­cil­ity that stores it.

Fa­cil­i­ties

En­sure that the fam­ily cord blood bank’s lab­o­ra­tory and biosafety cab­i­nets are not out­sourced to a third party. Such in-house fa­cil­i­ties al­low for more strin­gent qual­ity con­trol and al­lows for im­me­di­ate ac­cess to re­sources in the event of an emer­gency.

Pro­cess­ing meth­ods

The method in which the cord blood units are pro­cessed will de­ter­mine the cell re­cov­ery rate and vi­a­bil­ity of your child’s cord blood stem cells. The en­tire process should be au­to­mated in or­der to pre­vent any risk of con­tam­i­na­tion or hu­man er­ror. Ev­ery step in the pro­cess­ing of your child’s cord blood counts to­wards its vi­a­bil­ity.

Set­ting aside a por­tion of your bud­get to store your baby’s cord blood is a smart in­vest­ment, but it will be fu­tile if you pick the wrong fam­ily cord blood bank. So, be dili­gent in your re­search and safe­guard your child’s fu­ture with a trusted part­ner.

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