*This post is written in collaboration with WideCells UK
I hadn’t come across the idea of stem cell storage until a couple of years ago when I heard that it was possible to store umbilical cord blood stem cells and cord tissue following child birth. It sounded like the sort of thing parents should be considering whilst they write a birth plan, go to antenatal appointments and count down the days until their child’s birth. It made me wonder whether, given the opportunity, I would have stored stem cells following LP and Little Man’s births. We had a home birth, only used gas and air and tried to do things as naturally as possible so we were definitely open to ideas and suggestions. I really wonder if I knew then what I know now whether I would have done anything differently.
But, as parents, we do all we can to protect our children and to save them from harm, making life as smooth as possible for them. So, given the opportunity, wouldn’t we all give our children a better chance of fighting future or underlying health problems if we could?
You see, storing stem cells, taken from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord and placenta, can potentially be used to help the child in later life, maybe their siblings too and sometimes even the parents as well. But it’s something that not many people seem to know about or seem to do – despite over forty thousand successful stem cell transplants now being conducted across the world and an estimated third of the population needing a stem cell transplant in their lifetime.
Whilst reading up about stem cell storage I’ve realised how much it opens up a whole array of medical options to those who need them. Like with any kind of transplant, there are waiting lists and the chance of finding a direct match with your genetic make up is always going to be difficult – even from your immediate family. But having stem cells right there when you need them could ultimately save your life – or the life of those people closest to you.
Finding out more about stem cell storage and the ways it can help a family has really made me wish I’d known more about it when I was pregnant with LP and Little Man. With stem cell storage there is a small window of opportunity – it needs to be organised in pregnancy ready for when you give birth – so we aren’t able to store stem cells for our children now. The moment has passed.
Stem cell storage is something we need to raise awareness of so that families don’t miss that window of opportunity like we did. WideCells UK collect and store your baby’s stem cells from their placenta and umbilical cord with prices starting from £1995. You can find out more about this service, thinking of it like a modern day health insurance policy for your family, over on their website.