Why collect and store your child’s umbilical cord stem cells?

As you know, our mission at MotherStories is to inform you about all aspects of motherhood. Today, we’d like to tell you more about the collection and conservation of umbilical cord stem cells. It’s a scientific, health and public interest subject, but one that’s little-known and even intimidating. To support us in our efforts, we have called the Swiss Stem Cell Science society, a leader in the field of regenerative medicine and stem cells over many years in Switzerland.

What are umbilical cord stem cells used for?
Extracting stem cells from the blood and tissue of your child’s umbilical cord has enormous therapeutic potential. More than 84 hematological, metabolic and immune diseases, such as lymphoma, leukemia, anemia and myeloma, can be treated with stem cells.

Who can benefit?
First and foremost, the child whose cells have been harvested, then it is possible also for other family members (brothers and sisters) if the result of their compatibility test is positive and high.

When and how is the harvest carried out?
Once you’ve decided to conserve your child’s stem cells, you’ll receive a collection kit at home, which you’ll need to take to your birthplace on the big day. At the time of delivery, the blood and cord tissue will be collected by the medical team, placed inside the kit and then given to a specialized transporter to take to the laboratory within a maximum of 72 hours.

Is the procedure risky or painful for mother and baby?
The procedure is quick, painless and absolutely risk-free for both mother and baby.

Is it possible to do this in the event of a Caesarean section?
Yes, whether the delivery is by Caesarean section or vaginal delivery, it makes no difference whatsoever to the procedure.

Is it possible to do it if I’m very premature?
If the collection is carried out before 36 weeks’ gestation, it is very difficult to obtain a sufficient quantity of umbilical cord blood.

Can I donate my baby’s stem cells?
Yes, but first make sure that your place of delivery is suitable for the procedure. This is in different from a private conservation, where you are guaranteed to be able to take your baby’s stem cells at all private and public birth centers (hospitals, clinics, birthing centers).

If you wish to donate the stem cells collected at the birth of your child, they will be stored free of charge in a public bank, but you will no longer have access to the sample. The cells can be used by any compatible person at the top of the list, or for research purposes.

If you wish to keep your child’s cells for future use, you will have to pay a fee to a private bank. The sample will then be stored and made available to you for the duration of the contract.

What are the criteria for choosing a conservation bank?

There are several fundamental aspects to consider before making your choice:

  1. Choose a conservation bank based in Switzerland.
  2. Make sure the bank has all the necessary authorizations, including the reference accreditation known as Fact-Netcord, which is valid for both private and public banks.
  3. Fact-Netcord-accredited banks are subject to official controls by external inspectors every 3 years, and follow strict guidelines enabling the stem cell sample to be used in all transplant centers worldwide. Fact-Netcord-accredited banks also allow you to use the sample within your family, for siblings for example, with a proven high compatibility rate.
  4. Check that the bank is certified by Swissmedic, which regulates the production of cell therapy products, and by GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), which guarantees the quality of products developed by biobanks at the drug level.
  5. Choose a bank with its own laboratory, where the entire cryopreservation process takes place, and a bank that is “open” and transparent to visitors.

What happens at the end of the contract?
Families, or the sample owner themselves if they are over 18, have the option of extending the storage period (depending on the bank’s conditions) or deciding to destroy the sample. The sample may also be donated for research purposes, but not for clinical applications. In all cases, written confirmation from the client is required.

Does health insurance (LAMAL) cover part of the cost of stem cell collection and preservation?
Not at present, but let’s hope it changes…

At Swiss Stem Cell Science

How long do you keep samples?
On average 25 years, but we can extend this to 35 years.

What are your fees?
Storage fees at Swiss Stem Cell Science vary according to the service you choose. You have the option of storing stem cells from blood and/or umbilical cord tissue. Packages range from CHF 3,000 to CHF 4,000. You can choose to pay in 4, 6 or 12 interest-free monthly instalments. Over 12 months, this works out at CHF 125/month.

If you’d like to find out more, ask a non-binding offer and talk to the Swiss Stem Cell Science team, click on the link below to access their contact form.

Don’t forget to mention MotherStories when you contact them, and you’ll receive a discount on the package.

Swiss Stem Cell Science SA
Rue Georges-Jordil 4
1700 Fribourg

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