Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cord Blood Registry & Banking Your Child's Cord Blood #CordBlood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

CBR - Cord Blood Registry

For expectant parents, click to visit the Cord Blood Registry.  Until February 24th, 2014 receive a $200 discount on New Born Umbilical Cord Blood Banking Services by completing an information request from CBR.  This discount has been extended until March 24th, 2014.

As a Clinical Laboratory Scientist I have seen trends in Medical Science come and go.  As with any industry there are advances in technology, methodologies, and most importantly a drive to overcome obstacles and bring innovative safe solutions concerning medical issues to mainstream health care.

What is Cord Blood Banking?

New treatment therapies are always in the making from the Clinical Trials Industry in which I have vast working experience.  Science and Technology go hand in hand with Research and Development to bring treatment alternatives to medical issues great and small like cancer, diabetes, hearing loss, psoriasis, brain injury, autism, and multitudes of other human disease states.  Cord Blood and its use in the treatment of various diseases is a current dynamic hot trend in the medical community that will not go away.  Many highly respected physicians as well as Clinical Research Scientists across the globe all agree that the use of Stem Cells derived from Cord Blood is the resource that will develop future disease therapies.  Therapies that are in early development now such as hearing loss and autism as well as others not even dreamed of will depend upon the basic unit of human life that is the Stem Cell.  Some will even go on record to say that the future eradication of all disease states in human biology will depend chiefly on the use of Stem Cells.

Stem Cell is a pluri-potential biological Unit of Life.  It is a very special type of living cell that inhabits our bodies from birth and is used in maintaining our bodies by replenishing needed types of cellular tissue.  Stem Cells are a sort of "cell blank" often referred to as a precursor cell.  Stem Cells can be changed as needed into various different types of cells in our bodies which then can be used by our bodies to make repair after injury, replenish necessary cellular tissue, and help our bodies to fight disease.  Stem Cells although present in each of us are relatively few in number compared to our circulating pool of blood cells and bone marrow stores.  Stem Cells can be measured numerically by Laboratory Methods such as cell harvest/Cell Sorting and enumeration employing Flow Cytometry techniques.  Although Stem Cells can be identified in blood or bone marrow samples, harvesting from theses two sources is difficult and costly.  This is where the technology of Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking holds promise for the present and future of disease eradication in the human race.  Currently, Cord Blood Stem Cells are used to treat 80 diseases and over 30,000 Stem Cell Transplants have been performed worldwide.

Cord Blood Banking - The Industry

Cord Blood Banking is an industry all to its own in the medical Sciences which is in full development.  As the storage of Cord Blood Stem Cells is established right now it will continue to flourish in years to come.  Storage facilities may become numerous across the globe in the near future. Stem Cell Banking is primarily a private commercial endeavor by companies with three main driving philosophies.
  • Advance human disease treatment strategies 
  • Manufacture organ tissue for transplant purposes
  • Financial - this is a developing industry with great promise in entrepreneurship for those who have the research training and abilities to successfully provide a necessary service to parents, consumers, and the medical research community.  That is a huge statement concerning money.

Strict Regulation of this flourishing industry will be developed to safeguard the storage, use, and future use of Stem Cells.  This is such an important milestone in the treatment of human disease that current Congressional regulation [HR 3673 - Family Cord Blood Banking Act] is in process to allow for individuals wishing to store their newborn children' Cord Blood be able to pay for such services with pre-tax earned dollars via HSA, HRA, and FSA accounts.  This important regulation has been brought to Congress by two representatives; Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Ron Kind (D-WI) with the intention that consumers should be able take advantage of Cord Blood Banking Services and pay for these services as qualified medical expenses.  If HR 3673 becomes law, it would help families financially and really swing their decision allowing for more new parents to take advantage of Cord Blood Banking. CBR is one of two Cord Blood Banking entities that have collaborated to fully endorse HR 3673 and praise the sponsoring Congressman.

 In my opinion, this is the hot bed of Scientific Research where by Stem Cells will provide the medium for which Human Genome Mapping will be employed to manipulate those stored Stem Cells into cellular components discreetly targeting disease states providing for the cure of cancers, tissue regeneration, organ transplant, and even organ manufacturing in-vitro for transplant purposes. The storage of Umbilical Cord Blood is the ultimate gift anyone could ever buy for their new born children.  The stored Cord Blood can potentially be used in the future to treat developed disease states from childhood into adulthood. 

CBR - Cord Blood Registry is one of several commercial entities offering Cord Blood Banking Services and is recognized as a global leader in Cord Blood Banking industry.  Employing the talents of many medical and research professionals along with cutting edge state of the art facilities, CBR is able to provide consumers with safe and practical means to store Umbilical Cord Blood for their children.  CBR is currently storing over 500,000 Cord Blood Units and Cord Tissue samples.  Such cord blood is available from the umbilical cord which is often discarded after the birth of children.  CBR is at the forefront of this emerging technological service which is now becoming mainstream and available to all expecting parents.  To learn more about CBR the corporation, the facility, and their endeavors to become the safest most reliable repository for cord blood click CBR.

So basically, why should parents be concerned with Cord Blood Storage?  It is believed by many in the medical community that Stem Cells hold the future promise of treatment therapies for the future.  We as a human society are afflicted with disease states that have no current treatment possibilities or these diseases are marginally managed by current therapy strategies.  Being able to store Umbilical Cord Blood for our newly arriving children gives children a viable resource for future medical treatments to be developed in the event a child develops or is born with serious medical conditions, disease, or issues.

As a new dad, my main concerns before the birth of my children were "are they healthy?"
Advancement of my own and my wife' career was of concern to both of us to be able to provide for the growth and development of our children.  Back in the mid 1980's, during the birth of my children Stem Cell or Cord Blood Banking was not developed yet.  The long term storage of blood products such as plasma and cryo-precipitate (Cryo)  was mainstream and available at my local hospitals.  In my employment as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist working in a hospital blood bank, I routinely issued units of frozen plasma and Cryo to patients needing transfusion of these products.  However, long term storage of whole blood for transfusion was not possible then either.  Whole blood products have a refrigeration shelf life of about 40 days.  The process of storing whole blood for a patients future use was extremely expensive and not practical back then.  If Cord Blood Storage was available I would certainly have taken advantage of this service to insure that any developed health conditions in the future would have a viable fighting chance for treatment with my own children.

Why Parents Should Consider Cord Blood Banking?

Becoming a parent is a stressful time.  We all wish for healthy children for ourselves, family, and acquaintances.  But with new life beginning there is much uncertainty.  The health of a child developing into an adult and beyond without medical catastrophe is our greatest fear as a parent.  My 1st child was ill for her first two years after she was born.  Fortunately, her symptoms went away as she grew older and developed.  In my own experience, observing my child with a medical issue and sitting helplessly unable to cure or even treat the child back to health was the ultimate greatest fear of mine.   Banking Cord Blood for new born children is the ultimate protection.  Cord Blood is a resource that can be tapped by future medical advances to medically treat our most precious resources, our children.

Which Cord Blood Bank Facility is Right for Your Family?

Evaluating a Cord Blood Storage facility for the storage of your child's Cord Blood is as important as deciding to partake in this service to begin with.  Factors such as stability, security, infrastructure, location, professional expertise are all factors you should learn about any facility before choosing a service to Bank Cord Blood.  Here are some important factors you should review in this important decision making process and how to get that information.  Not one factor is more important than another but collectively all factors reviewed together will give you the information you need to select a service.
  • Facility - Where is the facility located geographically.  A facility located in a flood plain, near rivers, earthquake zones, vulnerability to tornado and or hurricane damage would not be a good choice.
  • Security - Is the facility protected enough against fire and other destruction, power-outages, burglary, and theft.
  • Stability - Financial security of an organization is important to the future functioning of such businesses.  Has financial growth been healthy in the service considered?  Is there turn over in the management team?
  • Infrastructure - Is the facility well run?  What type of people are employed at the facility, their training, credentials, and licensing for these employees?  Are the facilities clean-state of the art design and what you would expect of an organization storing your child's living tissue for decades to come.  Are there continuous improvement programs ongoing within the organization?  What certifications does the organization hold?  What certifications are available in the industry and does the organization hold them all?

How does one research all this information to make an informed selection of a Cord Blood Banking facility?

  • Call the facility directly and ask the questions above.  Take notes during your phone call.
  • Check out any social media resources on the Internet put out by the facility such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, You tube, etc.
  • Go to the facilities website and look for corporate info, media releases, management biography's, and business modelling information and pictures.  A picture can speak many words.  Are the facilities posted pictures close cropped showing detail but not much substance or are there wide sweeping pictures and videos showing a real glimpse of the facility and work environment within.  Check out the Careers page to see what positions are offered and the required credentials for applying for such positions at that facility.  Pay particular attention to what positions require only a high school diploma and how high they go up into the ranks of employees.  I would think that a college degree in biology or some other relevant science would be the minimum requirement of any employee whose task it is to handle or process your child's cord blood.
  • Check regulatory resources such as AABB, FDA, and CLIA for information on Cord Blood Banking and the industry.
  • Google - Google the facility name of  your choice with directed searches for complaints, violations, and accolades within the Cord Blood Banking industry.
  • Request information from many facilities including the one(s) recommended by your Obstetrician. Evaluate the information carefully, Formulate questions and request clarification from the facility.  How quickly do they respond?  Is the respondent info what you asked for?  If via phone, did you get answers efficiently or was your call bounced around before getting appropriate answers.  Ask for a tour of the facility and go tour the facility. Even if you cannot make the trip to a distant facility, try to visit one that is closest to you.  This will give you valuable first hand knowledge about how these facilities operate and what to expect in a facility such as security, infrastructure, and stability.

Make an informed choice for this most important gift you can provide for your children.  Their life may depend on the choices you make now before they are born.  Talk to your pediatrician and obstetrician about your choice to bank or not bank stem cells.  If you do choose to bank make sure your doctor has the ability to collect the Umbilical Cord and be able to send the tissue to the Cord Blood Bank of your choosing.

Connect with CBR via Facebook, @cordblood, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest
Scott R. Mayorga A.A.S, BS MT(ASCP)H CLS

1 comment:

Leslie M. said...

What an informative post Scott. As you know I'm a Neonatal R.N. so this topic is near and dear to my heart. Thank you for all the information you've provided. You really did your homework.

The cord blood registry wasn't around back in the day when we had our babies. But its available for our grandbabies. xoxo

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