A few months ago, my husband Warren went in for testing as he was a potential match as a stem cell donor, unfortunately he wasn't successful this time but has remained on the system. He had known someone who was in need of stem cells and hoped to help so signed up and hopes to help someone in the future.
We were then contacted by Future Health biobank proposing we collect the stem cells in baby's cord blood when I give birth and for us, it was an easy decision to go ahead with.
Straight after birth, a baby's cord blood is a rich source of stem cells which are a 100% DNA match for them. These cells have the ability to regenerate and protect the body from within and are able to develop into many different types of blood and tissue cells.
By collecting, processing and storing these cells straight after birth, they could be used to treat over 85 diseases including cancerous blood disorders such as leukaemia, and genetic blood diseases like Fanconi anaemia. This means should our baby, Roma, develop any of these diseases in the future, we will have her perfectly matched stem cells to hopefully help treat her instead of having to find a donor that matched. As we have two older girls as well that are her siblings, they have a 25% chance of being matched to her too, should either of them develop one of the diseases too.
Our whole experience was so easy and we didn't really have anything extra to think about, Future Health were extremely helpful and sorted everything for us. All we had to do was receive the box pictured above and remember to take it to the hospital with us on the big birth day!
Once we had agreed and signed our contract, we had a brief phone call running through a few questions and I got the chance to ask any questions I had too. The process was explained and I was surprised at how easy it seemed.
Future Health let our hospital know we would be collecting stem cells and they also designated us a personal phlebotomist who then phoned me to confirm she would be coming to the hospital after the birth to collect the stem cells and also take some blood samples from me. We were given her phone number and she just asked to keep her up to date as to when I go into labour & roughly when baby would be born so she could collect the blood as soon as possible after the birth.
We were also given a few instructions to pass on to the hospital about how they should do the clamping and placenta.
My birth was a bit quicker than we thought but as my placenta took a while to come out after, our phlebotomist managed to get there just in time. She took my blood, took the placenta and got everything she needed and boxed it up for us within about 30 minutes while I was enjoying my skin to skin with Roma. All we had to do then, was text the courier number she gave us and ask them to come and collect it from the hospital.
The whole process was so smooth, it didn't interfere with our birth and I barely noticed the phlebotomist. We've been highly impressed with the whole service and today we had a phone call to say that the initial testing has been complete and it looks like it will be successful but we need to wait a few more weeks to get our certificate.
Knowing we have this blood stored and it could potentially be life changing or saving for any of our girls is such a good feeling. Hopefully we won't ever need to use it but if we do, we will be so glad we chose to have this done.
*Thank you for Future Health biobank for working with us on this collaboration & gifting us the Premium cord blood & cord tissue package.
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