UK celebrities recognise the importance of Cord Blood Banking

The promising field of stem cell research is prompting more and more celebrities to store their new-born’s umbilical cord blood for possible use in treating future disease – providing them with the peace of mind that should their child ever fall ill, they have a unique form of insurance. It is estimated over 4 million families worldwide have chosen to protect their baby’s health by banking their cord blood.

Today, stem cells obtained from the blood are used in the treatment of over 80 diseases including cancers such as leukaemia and neuroblastoma and life-long conditions including cerebral palsy and autism. Furthermore, doctors and scientists believe that cord blood stem cells are one of the cornerstones of regenerative medicine and may soon offer therapies for many incurable diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.

With the word spreading about the potential benefits of cord blood banking, many celebrity parents such as author Izzy Judd and Olympic Snowboarder, Zoe Gillings, are now investing in the process. Most recently, Sugababes’ singer Heidi Range who had her first child, Aurelia Honey, in January has revealed she chose the UK’s leading cord blood bank, Cells4Life to store her baby’s cord blood.

Heidi comments; “Banking my daughter’s cord blood was a once in a lifetime opportunity I didn’t want to miss. Like every parent, I want my child to be healthy and live a long life, but no one can predict what the future will hold. Of course, you obviously hope to never be in a position to use it but knowing that my daughter’s cord blood is safe and secure gives me a peace of mind that is priceless.”

Just in the last six months, the Food & Drug Authority (FDA) has given permission to Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina to offer expanded access to cord blood therapy for children with neurological conditions. And, following the recent approval two British children suffering from cerebral palsy and autism travelled to America in March to receive the pioneering stem cell therapy.

So, what do pregnant mum’s to be need to know about cord blood banking?

The process

Cord blood is the blood found in the placenta and umbilical cord after birth.

After your baby’s delivery, whether it’s vaginal or caesarean, the placenta and umbilical cord are taken away and a trained phlebotomist collects both the remaining cord blood and cord tissue from the placenta and umbilical cord in a separate room. These are then frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen for years to come.

The whole process is quick, simple, non-invasive and completely safe. Patients don’t need to change their birth plan, but just make a phone call to the provider when labour starts.

Who is eligible for cord blood collection?

In the majority of cases, cord blood banking sits alongside your birth plan and is compatible with:

  • Twin birth
  • Caesarean
  • Water birth
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Placenta encapsulation

Who collects cord blood?

It’s extremely important to ensure cord blood is collected by a Health Tissue Authority (HTA) licensed public or private body. Samples need to be traceable from collection to treatment, in order to ensure legality and safety for everyone involved.

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