You sure would have witnessed those television commercials about stem cell storage during child birth. All we know is how useful this act might be in saving our child’s life in case of chronic illness or diseases in the future. But, there’s more to it. Here are certain things the world needs to know about stem cell storage and what really this means.
How are stem cells collected?
The umbilical cord that connects a baby to its mother’s womb is carefully removed and the blood from it is collected through syringes and sent to the respective banks for storage. The umbilical cord blood contains fresh samples of stem cells that are more effective than the ones collected from bone marrow and hence is of great use when it comes to fighting diseases such as cancer, metabolic disorders, anemia, etc.
Who can benefit from the stem cells collected?
To understand who can be best benefitted from the blood collected, it is essential to know how they are stored. Once you’ve decided to store the stem cells, there is one thing you need to make sure of; whether you are willing to donate the cord blood to a public bank or you want to save it for personal use in a private bank. The difference here is that the stem cells given to public banks will be donated to whoever is in immediate need whereas the ones stored in private banks are exclusive to the donor only.
Do stem cells have an expiry date?
Banking stem cells is a thing of the recent times and hence, there is no solid proof that it has no expiry. But, there are other theories that state that the life of these cells is only 15 years. We’ll still have to wait for further research on the topic to actually find the worthiness of storing stem cells.
Why is cord blood storage expensive?
Storage banks work on an annual fee wherein the cord blood is frozen under a controlled environment making them fully available whenever there is a need. Apart from the yearly pricing, there’ll be an amount payable while collecting it for storage.
And finally, the answer to the million dollar question!
Is it really worthy?
The concept of storing stem cells never existed 25 years back. But, science has gifted us with an incredible way to save lives through cord blood and we can’t be more thankful. But, there are chances that the blood might go unused as well. Also remember that genetic diseases can’t be cured with one’s own cord blood as the cells themselves might have the same disorder in them. While there is very least possibility that one will use his/her cord-blood in the future, the wisest deed we could do is donating it to public banks so that the ones in immediate need can have access to it in life-or-death conditions.