*Disclosure – This post is sponsored by Future Health Biobank*
I’ll be completely honest with you, before Future Health Biobank got in touch with me I had no idea about stem cell collection and why it could be so important, not just for Carrie, but for Aria too.
Once I had heard from them I went on to research why I would want to store the stem cells from my baby’s umbilical cord. I was amazed to discover that the stem cells found in cord blood can be used to treat over 85 diseases including cancerous blood disorders such as leukaemia, and genetic blood diseases like Fanconi anaemia.
Obviously I hope that we will never need to access our store of stem cell blood, but it really does give me peace of mind that should we ever find ourselves in that awful position we wouldn’t have to wait and hope for a donor, we would be secure in the knowledge that we had a guaranteed match ready, waiting to go. There is also a 25% chance that it will be a match for Aria, or any future siblings (not that there will be any!).
The stem cell collection was super easy to set up, once I had read and signed the paper work (all via email) they arranged for my kit to be sent out to me and gave me the details of my personal phlebotomist who would call me to get everything set up. My phlebotomist just so happened to call me whilst I was in labour and on my way to the hospital, talk about timing! We arranged for her to come to the hospital along with her emergency kit as mine hadn’t yet arrived. Once we were sure that Carrie was well on her way the phlebotomist made her way to the hospital to collect the stem cells and take my blood samples.
The whole process is simple, once you’ve signed your contract Future Health Biobank send you the collection kit, all you need to do is take it to the hospital and call your phlebotomist to let them know when you are in labour. I signed up to the process just a few days before giving birth and as a result my box hadn’t arrived when I went into labour, but this didn’t matter as I was able to request an emergency kit from my phlebotomist.
The collection didn’t interfere with my birth at all, we were still able to carry out delayed cord clamping and, apart from taking some blood from me, I hardly noticed that the phlebotomist was there. Once the phlebotomist had done what she had to do she placed everything back into the box and made her way. All that was left was for us to text the courier to arrange for collection of the box. The kit needs to be kept at room temperature so storing it isn’t a problem.
Ever since Carrie’s stem cells were collected Future Health Biobank have kept us updated via phone and email with the results. We have received confirmation that Carrie’s umbilical cord blood sample has been processed, cryopreserved and stored successfully. Unfortunately Carrie’s cord tissue wasn’t viable, they think that this was due to the fact that there was a knot in her umbilical cord.
As well as storing the blood they also screened Carrie’s sample for coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, medication-induced deafness and the bitter-taste test; we now know that Carrie has a high risk for developing a gluten intolerance so we will be bringing this up at her six week Doctors appointment.
Knowing that we have made this step to safeguard Carrie, and quite possibly Aria’s, futures is a huge relief to us.