When preparing to have our first child, I read about the option to store our baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells in a pregnancy magazine. I did a lot of research to find out what it was all about and what the potential benefits were.
I learned that umbilical cord blood and tissue is a rich source of stem cells that can be used now for medical treatments such as leukaemia, and there are a lot of clinical trials exploring how these stem cells may be used in the future for many different chronic diseases.
We made the decision to store both of our children’s cord blood stem cells, and included tissue storage for our second child. An important reason was that our children’s stem cells are a perfect match for themselves, and that compared to an unknown donor, there is also a much higher possibility that the cord blood stem cells will also be a match for the other sibling.
At 30 weeks in my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus which carried a risk of long term complications for my baby. Because of the threats this posed, I had an amniocentesis which meant there was an additional risk of labour being brought on early therefore I needed my cord blood and tissue collection kit delivered to me urgently. The Cell Care team were fantastic in organising this in such a short space of time. One of their midwives even came to see me at the hospital to make sure everything was ok.
Whilst my labour took some time to get started, once it had begun everything happened very quickly. I was worried that the Cell Care Collector had very little time to arrive at the hospital but, because of the easy communication with the Cell Care labour line, she was able to arrive on time and I didn’t even notice her collecting the cord blood and tissue. It was all very simple and painless.
After the birth, our Cell Care collector gave the doctors and midwives time alone with me and when everything was settled, came and congratulated me, explaining when and how the kit was going to be collected. I later received a text and an email with well wishes for me and my baby and to let me know that the kit had been safely received at the Cell Care facility. A few days later there was a follow up call to confirm all the details of my baby and the stem cells we had stored. The Cell Care team really did everything possible to ensure I had what I needed without me having to worry at all.
By storing our children’s cord blood and tissue stem cells I feel like we may have positively impacted and protected the future health of our kids. I work in the insurance industry and I see storing our baby’s cord blood and tissue as being insurance for our family. We of course sincerely hope that they never have to use the stem cells, but we know they are there in the future if needed. Health is so vulnerable and precious that we wanted to do everything available to provide future protection for our family. We discussed how we would have felt if cord blood or tissue stem cells could have helped our children in some way in the future and we had made the decision at their birth not to store.
Kylie Koch, April 2014