When I was pregnant with baby Cat, I signed up for an important insurance for her health – storing her stem cells.
During my pregnancy I read a great deal about childcare, health, early development and education. The subject of stem cells popped up a few times and aroused my curiosity. So I decided to research on it.
That led me to realise that our bodies are marvellous machines made up of 200 types of specialised cells.
About 30 years ago, medical scientists discovered a type termed as stem cells which are master cells that are capable of replicating into other types, making them very useful in natural healing.
Stem cells are found in organs, tissues, blood and immune system and can be harvested, stored and transplanted into a patient's body to repair or replace damaged or diseased cells.
The best source of stem cells is from the umbilical cord from which cord blood stem cells and cord tissue stem cells can be easily harvested with very minimal invasion. The former type has success in treating about 80 diseases especially those of the blood and the nerve like thalassaemia, leukaemia, cerebral palsy and autoimmune disorders whereas the latter are more versatile and used to treat more medical conditions.
I suppose most expectant mothers don't think about her umbilical cord at all.
Turns out it is either disposed of as human waste or donated to the public cord blood bank. In either case, her baby will not have access to its own stem cells in the unfortunate event that he or she needs it in future which is a pity because that cord blood is the perfect match for the baby for many conditions.
In addition, the cord blood, if properly stored, has a good chance of matching those of its immediate family members.
Furthermore, medical data reveals that one in 217 people will require a stem cell transplant in his or her lifetime and patients receiving these cells from a close relative will recover better and live longer.
Best Storage Facility
Realising that I had only one chance to collect and store my baby's cord blood immediately after birth, I set out to find a company that best provides this service.
After much searching and interviewing some subscribers, I selected StemLife as it fits my criteria for this delicate service.
Foremost, I was impressed by its advanced and reliable cord blood and cord tissue bank and high operating standards for handling, processing and storing cord blood and cord tissues and is fully licenced.
Moreover, it has 15 successful cord blood transplants done in several local hospitals.
It is financially stable, having existed for 16 years and is a member of an international healthcare group with operations in eight countries, benefiting from technology transfer.
With my criteria fulfilled as well as the testimonies of many clients, I felt assured that the stored delicate matters will be in top condition at all times.
The StemLife consultant, Cynthina Low, assigned to me was on standby during my labour to collect the cord blood and cord lining for storage.
Immediately after my baby was born and the umbilical cord cut, my gynaecologist used a simple procedure to drain blood from it into a special collection bag. Then a short length of the cord was cut and kept in another bag. All was done in just five minutes.
Stem Cell is Like Fingerprint
The arrival of baby Cat gave me joy while the storing of her stem cells afforded me peace of mind.
Now that I am pregnant with my second child, the question I had was whether to store its stem cells.
Stem cell is like fingerprint and unique to each person, so there is a chance that baby Cat's stored matters may not match this baby's. Also, they can be used one time only.
Without much hesitation I decided to do the same for this equally precious baby and happily subscribed to the service. After all, there is no risk to the both of us.
My parents did not have the opportunity to store my stem cells at birth as the technology was not discovered then. Now that it is available, I want to give my children this protection as my first gift to each of them.
I pat myself on the shoulders for making this worthwhile investment in my children's health over the next 20 years and beyond.
> Chermaine Poo is a chartered accountant turned actress, TV host, emcee and columnist. Now she juggles between motherhood and running her classic car restoration workshop, Restoration Performance Design. And because she doesn't sleep, she writes this columns and a blog on www.chermainepoo.com. Follow her on Facebook.com/ChermainePoo, and Instagram.com/ChermainePoo or drop her an email at email@example.com
Chermaine Poo is a chartered accountant turned actress, TV host, emcee and columnist. Now she juggles between motherhood and running her classic car restoration workshop, Restoration Performance Design. And because she doesn’t sleep, she writes this columns and a blog on www.chermainepoo.com.