Feature

Should I store the stem cells of all my family?

By Wideacademy - 14.11.2017

Family 2

The key benefit of stem cell storage is that it allows parents to provide their children with future access to an enormous range of treatment opportunities.

Already, stem cells from cord blood are used on a regular basis to treat blood and immune diseases such as leukaemia. Although it’s not possible to predict future uses, there are currently clinical trials of stem cells underway for many of today’s incurable conditions including Alzheimer’s.

Parents considering stem cell storage for their child’s cord blood and tissue currently have two options – public or private storage. Private storage safely secures the stem cells so that they can only be used by the baby and their family. Public storage uses the same technology as private, but also opens the use of the stored stem cells to anyone. Examples of such usage might be in transplant or clinical trials.

Do the stem cells of each child in a family need to be stored? Having made the decision on private versus public, a common question from families with more than one child is whether it is necessary to separately preserve the stem cells of each child, or if one child’s stem cells will be usable for the entire family.

Working on the basis that all of the children have the same parents, storage of the cord blood and tissue stem cells of any one child has a 1 in 4 chance of providing a perfect match, and a 3 in 4 chance of being a usable match.

The alternative is for parents to store both the cord blood and the tissue stem cells of all their children from birth, guaranteeing a 100% perfect match for any child.