The media loves to talk about the “stem cells controversy.” Stem cells are a critical to your health, located throughout your body, and routinely used in medicine so where’s the controversy?
During recent years, the term “stem cells” has been a hot topic in the media. The terminology is all very confusing and the articles are often misleading (even if they don’t mean to be). Unfortunately, this has left the general public scared of this term. “Stem cells” has become a dirty word. But, it should not be that way. So, why all the fuss?
Controversy in stem cell research and medicine can be reduced to a single issue: their source. When stem cells are derived from embryos there are political, ethical, and religious concerns. These stem cells are typically referred to as “embryonic stem cells.” Other stem cells can come from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and dental pulp to name a few and do not involve embryos at all. These are considered “controversy free” stem cells.
Even in adults, stem cells are needed to continuously repair and replace tissues. For example, your bone marrow produces red blood cells at a rate of about 2 million per second. Blood cells (which carry oxygen around your body) become worn out and misshapen after about 115 days and need to be replaced by new cells generated within your bone marrow (source: US National Library of Medicine). In addition, stem cells can be found throughout your body in areas such as fat, blood, skin, teeth, and many more.
Not only are many stem cells uncontroversial, they also can have life-saving benefits. In particular, stem cells collected from cord blood collected at birth are a truly non-controversial source of stem cells and possess many unique qualities not found in stem cells from other sources. They are the best of the best! When a parent chooses to donate or privately bank the umbilical cord blood, he/she is salvaging stem cells that could be used to treat diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia.
Umbilical Cord Blood Basics:
- Painless/noninvasive for mother & child
- Doesn’t involve touching the baby
- Treatment for nearly 80 diseases
- If the parent chooses, could be used in life-saving treatments & ground-breaking research
Clearly stem cells are integral to your health. This is why umbilical cord blood is such a powerful treatment and continues to offer hope and ground-breaking solutions in healthcare and medicine. When you consider donating or privately banking your umbilical cord blood, understand that this is a controversy-free source of stem cells that would otherwise be discarded as medical waste.
Our mission at Save the Cord Foundation is to educate parents about this valuable resource. We promote cord blood education and awareness to all. We distribute unbiased, factual information concerning the benefits of cord blood stem cells with the goal of preserving this valuable resource.
What options do you have as a parent for saving your newborn’s cord blood? Essentially you can choose between public donation or private banking; however, you may need to call on a hybrid bank to help with a donation if your local hospital does not partner with a public cord bank. Learn more here.
Are you ready to choose a bank or donation hospital? Use our interactive map to find one near you.
We wish to thank Bryanne Wadington for her valuable contributions to this article.