Dr. Hao Cheng and Xiaoye Zhao
My wife and I met in Scotland where we were doing our undergraduate degree. As we were aware of, 'jussoli' policy does not apply to the UK but does in America. After getting phD degrees and planning to have our first baby, we were regretting that our baby might still be of Chinese nationality, which means going anywhere else in the world would require a visa through many bureaucratic processes on prior, so we made our final decision that we would go to the US for our first baby. And yes! Freedom, freedom and freedom!
As a father with a Master's degree in molecular biology and a Doctor's degree in business administration, although I had not been doing what I was trained to do, like handling test tubes in a lab, some knowledge of stem cell biology still exists deeply in my mind. I am fully aware of the important roles stem cells play in certain diseases.
I have also been following papers regarding the dramatic progress scientists have made using stem cells. We had a family meeting and decided that we were going to store stem cells for our baby. The key question that remains in my head is how to maintain cytoactivity during the freezing process, in which tiny amounts of water in a cell can form ice and may inevitably cause damage to cell parts.
Centrifugation is a considerable solution, but in my experience the products of centrifugation being examined are proteins and DNAs and regardless of the water separation, cells will be broken apart too. With this concern, I have consulted many companies who do newborn stem cell storage without getting a satisfactory answer, only told how advanced they are compared to their competitors in the market, until I met the lady from Stemcyte. She could not explain it either, but was the first one who invited me for a visit to Stemcyte to talk to a senior member.
My pregnant wife and I paid a visit to Stemcyte. We were warmly welcomed. After raising my concern, we were shown a specially designed storage bag. I had to admit that as a former biology specialist, I was very impressed by the product they invented. Stemcyte uses centrifugation as well, but with their special design, only the water was separated while the cell stayed intact. I was then shown some data and took a tour around the company, bearing in mind 'how can they be so genius to develop this idea'! The environment of the company and conditions of the storage room reminded me of my old days in bio-labs. So we finally decided to have our baby's stem cell stored here.
As all parents do, we want our baby to live a healthy and cheerful life, during which there shall never be a chance for her to use the stem cells.
W. Liao, PhD. and M. Ting, PhD.
W. Liao, PhD. and M. Ting, PhD. banked their daughter’s cord blood with StemCyte since 2013. StemCyte is honored to invite them to share their perspectives on cord blood banking and experience with StemCyte.
As biologists, we were constantly asked by friends whether they shall bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood (UCB). Our answer is always “Yes”. Banking cord blood is a great insurance policy we purchased for our daughter as the first gift we can ever give her. Although we hope we would never need this “gift” to be used, this could potentially save her life if needed in the future.
Accumulated studies have shown that many human diseases are now able to be treated by cell therapies, those including stem cell implantation to replace defective or damaged cells in patients with cancers or organ/tissue degeneration such as heart, nerve, and eyes.
Among several sources of stem cells, UCB is a valuable alternative source and has unique advantages of easy procurement and low incidence of triggering immune responses. Umbilical Cord is rich in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), which have significant advantages as potential medical treatments for a wide spectrum of human diseases.
Although HSCs and MSCs can be found in adult tissues as well, UCB is a better source of stem cells because plasticity and activity of stem cells decrease gradually with age. In addition, with limited genetic diversity within a family, UCB may potentially applied to and benefit other members in the family when needed. With that being said, my wife and I could potentially use this cord blood someday if necessary.
My wife and I work in labs specialized in cancer research and genetic disease. What we care the most about was the quality of processing and storage a cord blood bank can offer when it comes to choosing a cord blood bank for our daughter. StemCyte not only employs advanced technologies in collecting and storing UCB to guard the quality of stem cells, but also has proven records of successful transplants around the word over the past 15 years. This is a record that other cord blood banks cannot offer, and this is exactly why we chose to bank with StemCyte.
As parents, banking gives us peace of mind for our child, especially for the future if she ever is in need for the cell treatment. If that moment ever comes, we know she will be covered by a decision her parents made many years ago when she was born.
We believe banking UCB with StemCyte is the first and one of the best gifts we can give to our baby.
Why did you choose StemCyte?
When we started down the path of which bank to choose there were two big contenders in the arena, CBR and ViaCord. I sought out information from both companies online and was quickly tracked down by their used car salesman... oops, I mean sales team... and they called me NONSTOP! I work in the customer service field and their customer service was horrible, unless you enjoy being stalked.Soon after dodging the other companies aggressive advances I was sitting in my doctor’s office when I saw a brochure for StemCyte. I figured it couldn’t get worse than the other banks and my doctor said they really worked with military families so I called them. They were simply amazing and I LOVE that they have a public bank. When I called to Inquire about their services they invited us to come to their open house that included a tour, food, belly photos, and an ultrasound.I was sold; no pregnant person passes up that compilation of items. When we went to the open house we were so impressed with the facility. The staff was amazing, the tour was eye opening, and the other goodies were the icing on top of an awesome day. That day I saw their public AND private banks, and all the hard work that goes into each of those. With StemCyte providing a LifeSaver Guarantee and holding extra accreditations for their public bank I was really impressed, my mind was made up. Before walking out of the open house we had paid for our banking with Care Credit and had our kit in hand.
How did the medical staff respond to your wish to bank blood?
Having banked both of my children’s cord blood I can tell you that we had two very different experiences. In San Diego, where I had my son, cord blood banking was pretty typical. The doctors saw the box, the nurses knew what to do, and it was all considered normal practice. On the other hand when I banked my daughters cord blood in Florida doctors and nurses were not well versed in cord blood collection.At one point my amazing doctor had to call the labor and delivery unit to see if they were even able to collect the cord blood, they were. Thank God there are very clear instructions for the hospital staff to be able to collect the blood inside the box. When my daughter was born there was one nurse who had previously done a collection and she was showing two residents how to collect the blood.They did great and were able to get a great collection. That collection has been used for three transfusions at Duke University and has one bag that is still banked for when there are further medical advancements.All in all each and every provider that we have encountered over the last three years has expressed that they are elated that we banked and that they think it has done a world of good for our Bailey.
“Thank you StemCyte” – Itzel Cervantes