ViaCord employee has a new baby and a new perspective on cord blood banking

New Perspective on Cord Blood BankingWe have great news—one of our colleagues had a baby! In addition to gaining a healthy and happy son, Lisa got an interesting perspective on cord blood collection—this time as a ViaCord customer.  We asked her to tell us about her firsthand experience with cord blood banking.

Once the decision was made, how did you go about making arrangements?

I went through the same process as our customers do. Once I was enrolled and completed my forms, I received a confirmation e-mail followed by a voice message that my collection kit would arrive within 2 weeks (it actually arrived in 3 days). Then, as I got closer to my due date, I received a reminder message, so I didn’t forget my collection kit when we left for the hospital.

I also received literature in the mail, and honestly, I was impressed. Everything was clear and comforting for me as a mom. And as a ViaCord employee, it was reassuring to know that our customers experience the same.

Anything you would change about the process?

At the risk of sounding self-serving, no! The biggest hassle we encountered was a result of 24 hours of labor and that meant three different shift changes of the medical staff. Because I didn’t know who was going to be delivering the baby, I had to remind the new shift that I intended to bank my baby’s cord blood. Well, technically I didn’t have to because my husband would have, but it was the one thing I could control that day, so I stayed on top of it and didn’t give him a chance! I previously blogged about useful day-of-delivery tips and encourage all first timers to read it.

What happened after the cord blood was collected?

My husband called the courier, reviewed the kit and labels, and they were there within a few hours. Then, the cord blood was taken to the ViaCord Processing Lab. I received an email and a text message letting me know that the cord blood arrived safely.

Was there ever any question that you would bank your baby’s cord blood?

No, but even if I wasn’t a ViaCord employee, I would bank my baby’s cord blood. In fact, I get asked this question by friends all the time. I work at ViaCord because I believe there are many good reasons to bank your baby’s cord blood, but emerging treatments in the area or regenerative medicine are what I personally find most compelling.

Despite the fact that it is not yet a proven method of treatment, I would bank on the potential for just one – cerebral palsy. The incidence rate for cerebral palsy is 1 in 500*, it’s not a genetic condition, and there are very few treatment options today. What’s particularly tough with cerebral palsy is its occurrence is unpredictable. The condition is usually caused by oxygen deprivation either in utero or during delivery.

Over 50 ViaCord families have participated in a clinical study using cord blood stem cells to treat cerebral palsy requiring a child’s own cord blood – at this time a sibling’s won’t do. I’ve had the privilege to speak with some of them. They all share in the hope that it will help improve the physical challenges their children suffer from. You can read about the varied experiences and outcomes in previous blog posts; Katie’s story, Lillian’s story, Cady’s story, Rebecca’s story. I suspect I would feel the same as Julie. Although she didn’t see any results, she still wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way.

ViaCord Collection Kit

Do you have any advice for expectant moms and dads who are thinking of banking their child’s cord blood?

The decision to bank can be a difficult one for many expectant parents and all expectant parents should feel confident in their decision. When I speak with my friends about cord blood banking, I liken it to a safety helmet. None of us wore helmets when we were kids and most of us turned out just fine. Of course today we rarely see a child without one. Yet, all parents are keenly aware that a helmet can’t protect for every type or degree of head injury. There are no guarantees, but there is a level of reassurance in knowing it’s on.

I feel the same way about cord blood. I can’t foresee what health issues might come my child’s way and I can’t know if cord blood stems cells could be a possible treatment option. And if I didn’t bank them, chances are everything would be just fine. But knowing that I have them in the bank provides me comfort, just like it will when I make the little guy wear a helmet.

Everyone has to make the right decision for their family. For anyone who decides family banking isn’t the right choice, I encourage them to consider donation. There are nearly 80 diseases today that are treatable with cord blood. These stems are too valuable to waste.

How has your perspective on cord blood changed as a new mom?

Being an employee I had a unique advantage of understanding the potential benefits even before pregnancy. Now it’s more personal. I tear up just thinking about needing to use it. But knowing it’s there as another tool in my protection toolbox, along with the bike helmet, the car seat, the toilet lid latch, and the outlet protectors, is comforting. And I hope, just like our clients do, that our family never has to use it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run to the store to buy a lifetime supply of bubble wrap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *