It is a well-established fact that both the placenta and umbilical cord blood are a rich and viable source of stem cells. In particular, stem cells that give rise to all blood cells (including those with vital immune functions) are highly populated in both the placenta and umbilical cord. For this reason, placenta and cord blood banking are becoming increasingly popular. With each passing year, medical evidence is mounting regarding the potential benefits of collecting stem cells at birth to safeguard the future health of babies. While collecting and storing umbilical cord blood at the time of birth is relatively well known, many new parents are less aware that placental tissue banking is also available to them.
Many parents question placental stem cell pros and cons. Another concern is placenta banking cost. Let’s examine the pros and cons of preserving placental stem cells in more detail.
Placental Tissue Protects Both Mother and Baby
According to research undertaken at the Medical University of Hanover in Germany, placental tissue is an excellent source of mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells have greater potential to differentiate into many varied cell types, including bone, blood cells, immune cells, cartilage, skin, muscle and adipose (fat) cells. What sets placental tissue apart from other sources of stem cells is that not only can it protect a baby from future disease, it can also protect the mother. This is because placental tissue cells are genetically identical to the mother’s cells. Certain tissue layers of the placenta contain the mothers’ stem cells, while other tissue layers contain the baby’s stem cells.
Cost and Accessibility
These days, there are many options available regarding the storage of cord blood. However, not all blood and tissue banks have the correct facilities or expertise to offer placenta banking. If you are considering storing cord blood, it is worth considering a provider who also offers a viable option for the collection and storage of placental tissue. Storage of placental tissue for potential use for the mother may actually be more cost effective than having adult stem cells collected later in life (and often less invasive and painless).
Leading medical academics in regenerative medicine see a bright future for stem cell therapies based on cells harvested from placental tissues. In a leading medical text on placental biology, the authors state, “Placental stem cell therapy will be a promising answer for many of today’s untreatable diseases in the years to come.” While placenta banking cost is a legitimate query, the investment will likely pay remarkable dividends with respect to safeguarding the future health of a mother and her children. The placenta is a life-sustaining organ vital to pregnancy, but is proving its potential value for mothers and babies well beyond the nine months of pregnancy.