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Stem cells are unique cells whose final function has still not been determined. They can thus develop into many different types of cells and this takes place right in the beginning of foetal development. They then mature into different cells that build the brain, the nerves, the bones, the muscles, the skin and so on. It is fantastic.
Stem cells are often currently referred to as the key to the future treatment of diseases such as stroke,diabetes, heart diseases and even paralysis. Already now patients with various blood diseases such as leukemia (blood cancer) and certain congenital blood diseases are being transplanted with blood stem cells - it is called bone marrow transplantation. Bone marrow contains blood stem cells, that can differentiate into all kinds of blood cells - white, red and platelets (trombocytes). These transplantations often save patients' lives.
Saved umbilical cord blood
A new born baby's umbilical cord blood contains just such blood stem cells from the foetus' liver. This is why private companies offer prospective parents to save this blood for the eventuality of any future needs.
Saved umbilical cord blood may be a solution should the child later on in life be afflicted with a disease or injury, and need rapid access to matching stem cells. Then their own stem cells would be accessible. One would not need to look for an appropriate donor in the family, or in the registers over available voluntary donors. The stem cells that the child would get would be his/her own, and then there would be no risk that the stem cells would be rejected by the body. This can happen if one gets blood stem cells from someone else.
However, research has shown that there exist no strong medical reasons to save one's child's stem cells for his/her own use. The risk of the child needing his/her very own stem cells is very small, only 0.05 %.
However, many European countries have established national biobanks for blood stem cells, to which one can donate one's superfluous umbilical cord blood. It is to these biobanks that medical service turns if they fail to find an appropriate donor to someone in need of
a transplantation, both adults and children.
Saving one's umbilical cord blood privately, costs approximately EUR 2,700.
Written by Libero
Monday, April 23, 2012 5:51 AM
We did this with our first born and will be doing it for our second. The link for NZ Cord Blood Banking is http://www.cordbank.co.nz
Friday, July 01, 2011 2:56 AM
do we do this in NZ , I would like to keep mine if possible esp if this could save the life of my daughter and her brother ? do we have to pay for this ??
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