It’s been a while since I’ve gotten all “midwifey” and talked about pregnancy but today I’m putting my midwife hat firmly on my head to talk about stem cells. Have you heard of them?
What are they?
They are cells that, in basic terms, have the potential to become one of many different types of cell in the body. You can find them in many places but the easiest and best place is within the umbilical cord or placenta after the birth of a baby.
So why do people need them?
These special cells are used to help treat many different conditions including leukaemia and cerebral palsy.
I’ve been asked by Smart Cells to help spread the word about stem cell collection after birth and the reasons why you may want to consider it. It isn’t a free service and is not cheap – costs start at just under £2000 which includes storage of the cells as well. However, should your child develop one of the many serious conditions these stem cells help treat, the cells are ready and waiting to be used. They aren’t the magic answer to everyone’s problems, but they have been shown to make a massive difference in the impact of treatment.
How else can you get stem cells?
You can find stem cells in other places than in the umbilical cord and placenta. Adults can have stem cells collected from their bone marrow (the stuff inside your bones) and in your blood, but this is a very strenuous procedure and isn’t very comfortable to the person donating their cells. It involves having medication to maximise the amount and quality of the cells but can also make you feel poorly in the process. The cells in a placenta and cord are much better at growing into the new cells and, obviously, aren’t painful to retrieve. If you are willing to be an adult donor the Anthony Nolan Trust is who you need to have a look for.
Want a bit more info?
Here is a video and infographic from Smart Cells for you to get a bigger grasp on why you should possibly consider it.
*The video in this post was created and provided by Smart Cells with Netmums
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