Many of us are familiar with the term stem cell research but, if we’re honest, for lots of us it conjures up negative images of Dr. Frankenstein type medical procedures and fiddling about with our genetic make-up to create designer babies.
Not so as this fascinating infographic by stem cell collection and storage company, Smart Cells shows. In fact, over 40,000 people have successfully stored stem cells with the company to secure the future health of their child and family.
Stem cells are cells which have the potential to develop into various different cell types within the body including blood, bone, tissue and organ. This means that they can be used as a repair and maintenance system in case certain conditions arise in the future.
The infographic explains what stem cells are and why and how they are collected at birth. Hands up – I had NO idea that you could collect stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta when you give birth. Clearly, if you are already aware of genetic diseases in the family then how reassuring it must be to collect this unique form of medical insurance at the child’s birth.
The actual collection of cord blood or cord tissue is neither painful nor distressing to either mum or baby, as might be feared. The process is quick and completely pain-free and a way of harvesting the rich source of potentially lifesaving cells from the umbilical cord and the placenta. I can honestly say I would have seriously considered this process with both Caitlin and Ieuan, particularly since I am an older mum (43 and 45).
In fact stem cells are already being used as a treatment for including leukaemia, cerebral palsy, sickle cell disease, Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, spinal cord injuries and thalassemia.
Research is also being carried out into multiple sclerosis (MS), strokes and diabetes where future advancements are expected.
Take a look. It may just change your perception completely.