The potentially lifesaving benefits of collecting and storing your baby’s stem cells at birth

The potentially lifesaving benefits of collecting and storing your baby’s stem cells at birth

How many of you have considered storing your baby’s stem cells during pregnancy? I am willing to bet that not many understand what storing cord blood means and those that do, pay a fair price for the privilege. The fact is, stem cell therapy is currently being used to treat more than 80 diseases in the UK, and this area of science is rapidly evolving. Umbilical cord blood contains potentially life-saving stem cells that can develop into various cell types in the body such as bone, blood, tissue and organ. So, this article aims to raise awareness of the massive benefits of collecting and storing your baby’s stem cells at birth.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are a group of biological cells found in the body, which enable your tissue to maintain their functions. They can replace themselves, and they can replace cells in the tissues which are damaged, worn out or dead. Their job is to serve as a repair and maintenance system for other body cells, as well as the blood and immune system.

Why are stem cells collected at birth?

The umbilical cord, which is the cord that attaches mother to baby, contains umbilical cord blood, which is the blood left over in the placenta after the birth. It contains Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSC) which then develop into blood-related cells. This blood is a rich source of potentially life-saving stem cells and the advantage of these stem cells is that we can obtain them from the umbilical cord blood or cord blood tissue, which is thrown away after birth.

Smart Cells, an institution that collects and stores cord blood and cord tissue for later possible use, have teamed up with Netmums to share a video on the topic of stem cell collection at birth. You can view the video below:

“The advantage of the stem cells that we can obtain from the cord blood or cord tissue is that these tissues are going to be thrown away, so taking those cells is harming nobody.” Professor Mark Johnson, Professor of Clinical Obstetrics, Imperial College London and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

How are the stem cells collected?

After the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut at birth, a specially trained healthcare professional will collect the remaining blood from the cord. The cord lining and Wharton’s jelly which is found inside the umbilical cord is a source of a different type of stem cell. It contains Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) which develop into a variety of cell types including bone, cartilage and muscle cells. After the safe delivery of the baby and the placenta, a 4 – 6-inch segment of the umbilical cord is cut and safely stored. Smart Cells then collect the stem cells and store them in their laboratory for later use.

Shamshad Ahmed, CEO, Smart Cells International.

Shamshad Ahmed, CEO, Smart Cells International.

“The stem cells are extracted for storage, by sending a collection kit to the customer (the mother). They will then take the collection kit with them at the time of the delivery and a phlebotomist will then be pre-arranged to collect the cord blood and cord tissue after the safe delivery of the baby. The sample is then sent to our laboratory where it is then processed and stored for later possible use.” Shamshad Ahmed, CEO, Smart Cells International.

What conditions can stem cells treat?

The stem cells that SmartCells collect and store are currently treating conditions like leukaemia, where the bone marrow is producing diseased cells and the patient needs a new bone marrow. Stem cells can also treat bone marrow that has been damaged during chemotherapy or when it has spontaneously failed, so it no longer produces the cells that it needs. Stem cells are also being used in treatment for a wide range of conditions and illnesses including but not limited to:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Thalassemia

Over 35,000 stem cell transplants have taken place globally.

Stem cell use in the future

Father and baby - cord blood saving lives

Experiments and studies are currently being enacted on repairing tissues that have been damaged, so heart attacks and strokes. Studies are also being done on the benefits of stem cells for babies that have been damaged during birth or pregnancy.

“If we can use stem cells to help babies with cerebral palsy heal, to give them a future, that would be the most wonderful thing for me to see.” Professor Mark Johnson

The following disease areas are currently in the clinical trial stages for cord tissue, so we could see advancements in these areas in the future:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes

If you would like to learn more about how to store your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue, as well as learn more about the benefits of stem cell therapy, visit for more information.

*Feature post*

Never miss a new post!

Don’t forget to tailor your preferences, so you just get the posts you want to read!

Follow Motherhood Diaries on Facebook (Facebook Recipes Page), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn

If you’d like to share your pregnancy or parenting story, then please do share your story here. Don’t forget to read our Ad Policy

Leyla Preston (562 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 6. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: