First things first: What exactly is cord-blood banking?
“This is when cord blood is collected from your child’s umbilical cord once it has been clamped and cut between mother and baby,” says Dr. Ashish Munjal, CEO of Cryovivo Singapore.
The stem cells in cord blood are primarily responsible for replenishing blood and regenerating the immune system. Additionally, explains Dr. Munjal, these cells are biologically younger than mature adult stem cells, which make them more effective when treating certain diseases.
Here’s what you should know about it.
While it’s surely a personal decision, many parents are opting to bank their babies cord blood these days, says Dr. Munjal, as it provides some insurance for the future should their child develop a lifethreatening disease.
Currently, cord blood stem cells can treat more than 80 diseases such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bone marrow failure syndromes and blood disorders like sicklecell anaemia. Cord blood could potentially help siblings who have these diseases as well, but you should not expect a perfect fit, he explains.
“Most parents miss out on cordblood banking because they lack the right information on the subject, or they start exploring its benefits too late in the pregnancy,” says Dr. Munjal. “Well-informed parents often start exploring such services as early as the first trimester, but only sign up from the second trimester onwards,” he explains, noting that you should sign up no later than your seventh or eighth month of pregnancy.
At Cryoviva, consultants will arrange the meeting to explain more about the services, and complete the necessary documents for registration.
Cryoviva also has all the necessary facilities for couples who “can only consider collecting their baby’s cord blood at the last moment.” Its centrally located facility also means that cord-blood samples can reach its labs from most maternity hospitals in minimal amounts of time.
Not to worry! Good news for expecting expatriates: Even if you’re unsure about how long you’ll remain in Singapore after your child’s birth, you can still sign up for Cryoviva Singapore’s services, as it can securely store your baby’s cord blood here until you require it.
“The stored cord blood can be shifted to any part of the world, in cryo-shippers using stringent protocols, for transplant purposes,” though they are subject to each country’s regulations and norms, explains Dr. Ashish Munjal.
According to Dr. Munjal, Cryoviva has several packages that allow for global shipping of cord-blood samples for transplant purposes at “no charge.”
However, in international transfers, the actual cost comes from “logistics experts that are trained to handle these kinds of sample transfers, which must be transported in a cryopreserved state,” he elaborates. As such, the cost may vary according to logistic requirements.
By Elisa Chia and Hazel Vincent De Paul, The Finder Kids (Vol. 20), September 2017
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