As parents, we only want what’s best for our children and we always strive to do the best we can. As a young mom, when I started my very large family I didn’t know about a lot of things. Cord blood banking, which can only happen at birth, was one of those things. I’m saying this right off the bat because this is an important topic that I feel every parent-to-be should be made aware of immediately and although I did touch a bit on this before in my post last month (here), today I’m going to share What I Wish I Had Known About Cord Blood Banking.
I didn’t know anything about cord blood banking until I was pregnant with Jackson, baby number 5. I got a phone call at 18 weeks pregnant from my doctor’s office saying there were some abnormalities on the ultrasound I had just two days prior. Jackson was born with one kidney smaller than the other. He’s had to see specialists since he was born, and the first year of his life was on a daily medication that helped keep any UTI or infections from arising. Although he’s a perfectly healthy 7 year old now, the first few years of his life I lived in a big cloud of worry over the “what-ifs”. To this day, Jackson still isn’t able to take Advil or ibuprofen – if he does, it could end his life. When I went to that first appointment, after the phone call, I was told about the possibilities and issues that could happen. We were sent to speak to specialists, and it wasn’t until after Jackson was born that I was asked if we stored his or any of his sibling’s cord blood. I had no idea what any of this meant, so I had to go digging and find information myself. It’s something we hadn’t done or even thought of.
Being a mother is something I’ve always wanted to be and I knew when I was rather young I was going to have a large family. In fact, I had a list of names as a child and on that list, I had 4 boys and 4 girls. I’d like to say I did my research, that I was a prepared mom and knew right away everything there was to know about having children, but I didn’t, and I’m not sure if there really is such a thing as a prepared, know everything mom. For my first baby, I did prenatal classes. We were taught everything from breathing to the early stages in life, but one thing no one ever talked about was cord blood banking.
Your child’s stem cells are a perfect match for your own child and may, in fact, be a match for siblings. They weren’t sure if Jackson would have any other issues, if he would need surgery or how things would work out — we were lucky and he’s completely fine. He didn’t need surgery or any transfusions, and just last year we were told no more appointments every 6 months; he would now only have to go back in 2 years to make sure things are still progressing and going well.
Had this situation been worse, or if any of my babies ever needed life-saving surgery, or have any of the things happen to them that cord blood treats, such as solid tumors, immune deficiencies, cancers, blood disorders & leukemias or genetic diseases, I now know cord blood is an option. What’s important to remember, however, is that these potentially life-saving stem cells can only be collected at the time of your baby’s birth.
I wish I would have known about cord blood banking back in 2003 when I welcomed my first child. I would have started with him and banked with all eight of my children. I wish I would have known how important storing cord blood would be, not only to my newly born child but to their siblings as well. Both Hanna and Mia were gestational diabetes babies, and with that comes the possibility of a lot of health issues now and in the future. Luckily, they had none, other than low blood sugar at birth. For that, I am forever grateful, but I still can’t help but think of the “what-ifs” again.
Since doing my research for this post, I’ve learned that there have been more than 40,000 transplants across the globe using cord blood instead of bone marrow, and cord blood stems cells have been used in treatments for over 80 life-threatening diseases. I wish I would have known this about cord blood sooner. Looking at my children now, seeing them healthy and full of life, makes me realize that you just never know what may happen at any given time. Being prepared is something I always thought I was, but when it comes to the health of our babies – you can never be too prepared, so I am urging all parents, soon-to-be parents, or even those of you that think you will one day become a parent, to look into cord blood banking. You just never know when you will need it, and it could save your child’s life.
So my advice is to do your research. Talk to your Obstetrician or Midwife about cord blood banking. I would encourage you to make an informed choice, and know all your options when it comes to storing your baby’s cord blood. If you wish to receive a free information kit from Insception Lifebank please click HERE.
Insception Lifebank is Canada’s largest and most experienced cord blood and tissue bank. With over 20 years of experience, they have processed and stored over 75,000 cord blood units. Insception Lifebank works with more obstetricians than any other cord blood banks, and their services are available at ALL Canadian hospitals and home births with worry-free bedside pickup. Learn about the benefits of cord blood stem cell storage with a FREE info kit by visiting Insception Lifebank.