Stem Cells and Pregnancy

The face of health care keeps on getting a makeover with each passing day, the result being the availability of newer solutions to the problems that have nagged mankind for centuries. Stem cell research as regards the condition of pregnancy in women has yielded some special results in the recent past. Stem cells have been pretty aptly named, as these are the holding blocks of human life. These cells build the human body and play an important role in the treatment of ravaging diseases like childhood leukemia and some cancer conditions. Apart from this, stem cells have been the center of attraction as far as contemporary pregnancy related medical research is concerned, with conclusive evidence for scientists to believe that stem cells can also be employed in successfully tackling several diseases in the distant future of a human life.

The relation between stem cells and pregnancy is pretty evident from the fact that in just a matter of nine months, stem cells let the embryo progress into a grown baby! These stem cells are mostly found in appreciable counts in the blood flowing through the umbilical cord. The contribution to disease treatment results from the practice of harvesting stem cells at the time of the birth of the baby, separating them from the blood samples, deep storing them for periods as long as two decades and then using these stored stem cells as and when the concerned person falls prey to a disease through the course of his/her lifetime.

During the pregnancy when a woman is 10 weeks pregnant and especially in the last stages of pregnancy, they have some blood tests conducted on them so that the medical experts can determine whether the baby’s stem cells would be healthy enough to be stored. Also, the medical examiners and analysts have to determine whether there would be chances of cross contamination of blood samples and decide thereafter. Generally, these tests are conducted around a month before the expected delivery date of the child. If the doctors opine that storage of the stem cells of the baby would be fine, then the stem cell storage company you pick sends in a sterile collection kit. Your midwife uses this kit to collect blood from the umbilical cord. This sample is sent over to the laboratory where the stem cells are separated from the blood, frozen and stored as per the established guidelines.

Pregnant ladies find a lot of comfort in the thought that a little consideration at the time of pregnancy could help them guard their babies against the possibilities of being afflicted by serious diseases in the future. Naturally, stem cell storage banks are required to store the baby’s stem cells for such a long period. The fact that the few cells taken from the baby’s cord blood can possibly save the life of the baby, a sibling and even the parents at some point in time in the future means that stem cell banks are flourishing. Among the diseases that stored stem cells can work against are acute leukemias, autoimmune diseases, chronic leukemias, congenital immune system disorders and histiocrytic disorders.