This post is brought to you by CordLife.
Anyway, my longtime mommy readers know that we banked Iñigo's cord blood when he was born. We didn't do it with Vito because we balked at the price, but by the time Iñigo came along, there were payment plans that made it easier for us to invest in it. Back then it was P48,000++ at blood collection then P8,000++ for the annual storage fee. Still pricey, that's why we didn't bank my third son Piero's cord blood and umbilical cord, thinking that one kid's stem cells are enough. But now I regret it. I should've banked all the stem cells I could! Grrr! Why? Because I just learned that stem cell research is now making huge strides in how these miraculous cells can help heal us!
You see, when we banked Iñigo's cord blood, we just did so as an insurance for some dreaded happening in the future, with the hope that it won't happen of course. But when we looked at the list of what stem cells were being used on back in 2012, we weren't really concerned because the diseases listed (weren't in our family histories. So the banking of the cord blood was for "just in case."
I was curious to know what science has come up with in the last three years. And, boy, have they found out a lot. Now I really wish I banked my cord blood and umbilical cord when Piero was born!
First, what are stem cells?
Stem cells are "cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells." [source: National Institutes of Health]. I understand them to be our building block cells. They are unspecialized, basically blank cells, that develop into the different kinds of cells in our body with a specialized function—some cells become muscle cells, some become brain cells, some become bone cells, etc.
There is an abundance of stem cells in the umbilical cord tissue, the cord blood, and the baby itself because of the rapid growth and development that happens when we create new life. But we grown-ups have stem cells, too. Not as fresh maybe but still good enough to be harvested especially from parts like our bone marrow. We have enough stem cells because they repair our bodies when we are injured, sick, and even simply because we're aging.
Second, how can stem cells be used?
Because of the stem cells' unique ability to transform into specialized cells and because they transform with no limit, they have been or have potential to be used in treating conditions and diseases that are caused by a damaged organ.
Here's a list: