Cord Blood FAQs
- What are stems cells?
- Stem cells are the building blocks of life, and a foundation for a new age in medicine. In medical terms, they’re “undifferentiated” cells that have the ability to renew themselves. In plain English, stem cells are blank slates. They have the potential to become any of the tissues and organs found in our bodies. For example, stem cells can be turned into specific differentiated cells types, like muscle cells for the heart, bone cells or nerve cells. Research is showing that stem cells may one day act as a super repair kit for the body-generating healthy tissues to grow replacement organs.
- What is umbilical cord blood (UCB)?
- UCB is the blood present in the umbilical cord and the placenta. Not long ago, the cord and the placenta would be discarded as biological waste, as in the past we did not understand cord blood’s value. The first research paper about human stem cells was released in 1998. To date patients have been treated for a variety of diseases using cord blood.
- What are the advantages of umbilical cord blood?
- Umbilical cord blood, an abundant source of stem cells, is the blood in both the umbilical cord and the placenta. Today, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat over 70 diseases including cancers and blood-related diseases along with immunity and metabolic disorder diseases. Bone marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood are the main sources of stem cells. For clinical transplantation of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), umbilical cord blood offers many advantages. Bone marrow transplantation has become a widespread therapy but major drawbacks include unavailability of matched bone marrow, a rather invasive process to the donor to harvest the bone marrow, and a more life-threatening transplant related complication called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) may develop. Cord blood is easy to collect, readily available when needed and avoids the potential complications associated with GVHD. Because of these factors, transplantation of umbilical cord blood is rapidly becoming the stem cell source of choice.
- What is umbilical cord (MSC)?
- The stem cells from the Wharton’s Jelly in the umbilical cord has large quantities of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). In addition to minimize rejection reactions from the umbilical cord blood transplants, the medical world has recently become aware that MSC have excellent potential for in vitro expansion and multiple-differentiation, which can help to repair organs and tissues.
- What are the advantages of umbilical cord (MSC)?
- These cells can be further differentiated in the laboratory so that they grow into tissues including bone, cartilage, muscle, nerve and cardiac muscle. They are expected to have future applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering which may help to control serious diseases which including spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes and liver cirrhosis, etc. These stem cells do not require HLA matching before used for treatment, meaning that these stem cells stored can be used for every family member.
- Why should I collect and store my baby’s cord blood?
- There are over 70 diseases which have been successfully treated with cord blood stem cells. Collecting and storing your baby’s cord blood enables you to have ready access to these precious stem cells should the need arise to treat some of these diseases. Future applications in regenerative medicine, a rapidly emerging area of medicine, may enable stem cells to treat many injuries and diseases previously thought to be untreatable. What we don’t know today is what the future holds in regard to new therapies. What we do know is that there is only one chance to collect your baby’s cord blood stem cells.
- Is there any risk to me or my child?
- The cord blood collection process is simple, safe and does not interfere with your delivery. It is also painless for both the mother and newborn. Ultimately, your physician will determine whether it is safe to collect your baby’s cord blood.
- Can you collect cord blood if the delivery is by C-Section?
- Yes. Collection for a C-Section delivery is very similar to that of a vaginal delivery. The primary difference is that your physician performing the collection will use additional equipment provided in the Thai HealthBaby Collection Kit to safely collect the cord blood because the collection is performed in a sterile operating room environment.
- After banking my first child’s cord blood, is it necessary to bank my second child’s?
- Yes. Although the success in matching human leukocyte antigen (HLA) between siblings is much higher than people with no blood relation, there is still a very high chance of HLA matching being unsuccessful. It is therefore better to store the child’s own cord blood sample.
- With twins, is it necessary to store both baby’s cord blood? And what is required for multiple births?
- It is best to store each baby’s sample individually which provides for either two identical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typed samples in the case of identical twins or two different HLA-typed samples which may be the case with non-identical twins. Multiple births will require the use of additional collection kits. Thai HealthBaby offers special pricing for multiple births.
- If the baby has an inherited genetic disorder, can his/her cord blood still be used in the future?
- At the present time, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders but not inherited diseases. However, in the future, there might be a break through with cord blood stem cells applications such as, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Thus, storing the precious cord blood is still worthwhile.
- How long can cord blood be stored?
- In a study performed by Hal E. Broxmeyer (PNAS, 2003), cord blood stored in liquid phase nitrogen (LN2) and left undisturbed has been shown to retain its therapeutic capabilities more than 20 years.
. Thai HealthBaby utilizes the BioArchive System® for cryopreservation and storage of cord blood. The BioArchive System®, is a computer-controlled, robotic liquid nitrogen cryopreservation and storage system that provides the only means to duplicate the conditions that were used in this study. However, it is important to note that very few studies have looked at the viability of cells after 15-20 years mainly because stem cells for clinical applications are a new frontier. As a result, a study performed by Albert D. Donnenberg notes that expiration dates cannot be set for stem cell components stored in liquid nitrogen (Cytotherapy, 2002). There are no studies that use vapor-based nitrogen.
- What will affect the collection volume of the cord blood?
- The volume of the cord blood collected depends on the thickness and the length of the umbilical cord plus the weight of the placenta and baby. It also depends on the course of delivery as the safety of the mother and the baby always come first. Collection technique is also an important factor. Thai HealthBaby provides hospital staff and obstetricians with training on cord blood collection procedures.
- If the cord blood volume is low (<40g), can it still be banked?
- The cord blood can be banked even if the volume is low [successful transplantations of more than one cord blood samples have been reported]. Low volume does not always equate to low cell numbers which is an important factor for use in transplants. Also cell expansion and other scientific research are underway which may result in the ability to use smaller samples. There is also the new emerging area of regenerative medicine which utilizes a variety of different stem cells to possibly treat a whole array of diseases, injuries and conditions including, traumatic brain injury, corneal repair, cardiovascular disease and many others.
- What is the likelihood of ever using our baby’s cord blood?
- Reports indicate the probability of requiring a stem cell transplant using either your own or a sibling’s stem cells is 1 in 200 within their lifetime*. While cord blood is not the stem cell source for all of these transplants, thousands of cord blood transplants have been performed in the past few years and that number is expected to grow. Also, these numbers do not factor in potential future uses in regenerative medicine.
* Source: Parents Guide to Cord Blood
Thai HealthBaby FAQs
- When should I enroll with Thai HealthBaby?
- Because half of all babies arrive before their due date, it’s best to decide early. While we strongly recommend making the decision before one month of expected due date, however, it’s never too late in your pregnancy to enroll.
- How do I enroll with Thai HealthBaby to save my baby’s cord blood?
- Contact us today at 081-142-6665, and we will assign one of our professional medical representatives to meet you at a location and time of your convenience to provide more information on stem cell banking.
- How much does banking my baby’s cord blood cost?
- We offer several payment plans for parents, the application fee is 25,000 Baht. This includes: a Thai HealthBaby Collection Kit and cord blood processing. The remaining payment will depend on the storage method you choose. We encourage you to speak with one of our representatives to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org / 081-142-6665.
- What if, for medical reasons, collection of the cord blood is not possible?
- We inform our customers that the collection of their newborn’s cord blood is performed solely at the discretion of their doctor. We leave it up to the doctor to determine whether or not it is safe for the cord blood to be collected. If your doctor determines it is not safe to proceed with the collection, we would refund the full amount of the application fee our customers had given us.
- Why does Thai HealthBaby store cord blood in liquid nitrogen (LN2) versus using vapor?
- One of the most common questions asked is, “How long can my cells be stored?” Storage temperature is critical to the long term survival and viability of stem cells. All published studies on long term storage were done using liquid phase nitrogen. There are no published studies on effects of long term storage using vapor. Liquid phase storage is the best guarantee that your stem cells are being stored at the optimal temperature. It is why most of the world’s leading public cord blood banks store in liquid, not vapor.
- What testing is performed by Thai HealthBaby?
- We test the maternal blood for 9 specific infectious diseases. The cord blood is tested for sterility as well as the number and viability of the cells collected. These information are crucial for future transplantation uses.
- Is there a fee if the blood is ever needed for transplant?
- There is no charge to Thai HealthBaby, the shipping cost would be free if the stem cells were to be used in Thailand, if overseas transportation of the stem cell is needed, all is required is the cost of the plane ticket from the storage location to the destination location. Our staff will hand carry the cord blood in a cryoshipper to the location needed.
- Does Thai HealthBaby perform research?
- Thai HealthBaby, in association with its parent company, HealthBanks Biotech, performs research on its own and in conjunction with accredited universities, hospitals and research organizations. For example, we work with:
UCLA on differentiation of stem cells-for neural cell induction for use in development of future therapies to treat disorders of the nervous system and brain including, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, strokes, and spinal cord injuries.
Johns Hopkins University in a research project to develop a cervical cancer protein vaccine.
Cell Stem Biotech Inc., USA in a research project to develop cell expansion technology of cord blood hematopoietic stem cells, for use in clinical transplant.
- Is your company stable?
- Yes. Thai HealthBaby is owned by HealthBanks Biotech, which is part of a 20 year old cell pharmaceutical company, who for over a decade has been leader in the collection and storage of cord blood. HealthBanks Biotech is privately owned, profitable company with offices in several countries. Thai HealthBaby, along with HealthBanks Biotech, is proud of its heritage of high quality, financial stability and stem cell research and development.