I recently had the opportunity to attend an event where I was able to learn more about cord blood banking and ViaCord, a leading private family cord blood bank that has been providing stem cell and tissue preservation service for 20 years. ViaCord is a part of PerkinElmer, a global company focused on improving human and environmental health. At the event, attendees heard from Morey Kraus, Chief Scientific Officer of ViaCord and Kate Falcon Girard, RN MSW Clinical Manager. Kate supplied us with a lot of information regarding newborn stem cells and the current research that’s going on. You are probably wondering what the big deal about cord blood banking is, well, cord blood is the blood that remains in a newborn’s umbilical cord after birth, and the stem cells it contains have been used to help replace damaged blood cells with healthy ones, with the potential to strengthen the immune system. Stem cells have the ability to heal damaged cells, tissues, organs, blood and the immune system and both cord blood and cord tissue are great sources of stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are used today in the treatment of nearly 80 life-threatening diseases, including genetic disorders and cancers. Typically, these treatments require a donor transplant, such as from a sibling . During Kate’s presentation, we learned that although cord tissue is not currently being used, there are incredible things happening in cord blood and cord tissue research! Right now, researchers are conducting research looking at cord blood stem cells as potential treatments for different diseases including autism, cerebral palsy and Type 1 diabetes [20-26, 84]. Additionally, cord tissue stem cells are being studied for their ability to potentially regenerate bone, cartilage, tendons and neurons in preclinical (not human) trials. Cord tissue stem cells are not yet approved for treatment, but saving cord tissue stem cells means more potential treatment options in the future. While at the event, I had the chance to take a look at a ViaCord collection kit which includes a sterile FDA approved collection bag co-developed by ViaCord, a sterile cord tissue container and an FDA approved antiseptic. The cord blood and tissue stem cells are collected at the time of birth and are transferred to then stored at a ViaCord facility within 48 hours. If family ever needed the stem cells for treatment, they’re accessible. I know pricing comes up often and is a concern for many including my own family. I have great news for those who share that concern: ViaCord has recently lowered the upfront price of cord blood banking by 40%! They offer payment plans for their different services. You can also open a gift registry for ViaCord so that your family and friends can help contribute to the cost of cord blood and tissue banking! For more information on pricing, make sure to visit the ViaCord website.
When I first found out I was pregnant with our second child, I knew there were quite a few decisions my family and I would need to make. Some of those things being which birth route I wanted to take, whether or not I would breastfeed and other important decisions along those lines. Another thing my family also needed to consider is whether or not to bank our new baby’s cord blood. When I had E over three years ago, I had heard about cord blood banking and had received some information on it from my OBGYN but never took it any further from that and definitely didn’t feel informed enough to make a solid decision. This time around, my husband and I are looking into our options and making sure that we are better informed.