A woman holding a baby

Whose placenta is it anyway?

March 11, 2016

The placenta is a special organ responsible for the nourishment of your baby during pregnancy. In addition to nourishing your baby, the placenta provides oxygen and takes away waste products creating the perfect environment for your baby to grow in utero. After the birth of your baby, the placenta is deemed redundant and once it has been delivered, it is often discarded. However, the placenta and the blood within it could have a myriad of uses after birth…

A woman holding a baby

The amniotic membrane inside the placenta, also known as the amnion, can be used in a variety of medical procedures. The amnion can be used as a graft in ophthalmic medicine and can be used to treat a variety of conditions including glaucoma. In dentistry, the amnion can be used to help replace gum tissue lost by gum disease. The amniotic membranes also have medical applications in sports injuries and can even be used to treat wounds which are difficult to heal such as diabetic foot ulcers.

The blood in the placenta and umbilical cord, cord blood, is particularly valuable in medicine. Cord blood is rich in stem cells and your baby’s cord blood contains stem cells which are a 100% perfect match to your baby. Today, umbilical cord blood can be used as an approved therapy to treat over 80 serious illnesses including cancers, blood disorders and metabolic conditions.

The number of illnesses which can be treated with cord blood is likely to grow. There are over 5,000 clinical trials investigating the application of stem cells in a plethora of illnesses from MS to Parkinson’s disease, to strokes, to cerebral palsy, and even autism. Many of these trials fall into the area of regenerative medicine, which uses a person’s own stem cells to repair or replace damaged or diseased tissue.

A man and a woman sitting on a bed

Today there are over 1,100 clinical trials investigating the application of cord blood in medicine. Unfortunately, many parents allow their baby’s placenta to be thrown away without realising how precious it is. After birth, once the cord has been cut, the placenta can be taken away so that the cord blood remaining within it can be collected along with a section of the umbilical cord, which is also rich in stem cells. Your baby’s stem cells can then be stored for decades giving your baby access to emerging and existing therapies should they ever need to use them. The placenta can be discarded as usual, as its valuable cord blood and cord tissue stem cells have been captured.

Treatments with cord blood and cord tissue stem cells are not the medicine of tomorrow, they are the medicine of today. In fact, in 2014 Cells4Life became the first bank in the UK to provide umbilical cord tissue for patient therapy. One study even found that as many as 1 in 3 could benefit from regenerative therapies in the future.

We’re on the cusp of a medical revolution and your placenta can give your baby access to the most recent, and possibly most significant advances in medical history.

Cells4Life are the UK’s leading cord blood bank, storing more UK samples than any other private bank. They are the only bank to split your baby’s cord blood into multiple samples, allowing them to access more than one stem cell treatment. You can find out more about storing your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue on their website: www.Cells4Life.com.

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