All About Stem Cell Banking – Extra Insurance for Your Child’s Health

Okay, so if you’ve been following my Instagram and Youtube channel, you’ll know that June is the month. Baby O. is on its way and it’s a case of – any day now! I’ve packed mine and Baby O’s hospital bags and have a few loose ends to tie up, but essentially I’m as ready as I can be to have this baby now. One thing that was missing on all of the hospital bag lists I’ve read and heard of is the stem cell banking kit. I call this the one item you don’t want to forget to bring with you because birth is pretty much the best time to collect your baby’s stem cells for storage. We first registered with Netcells four years ago when I was expecting Kai and we knew we’d want Baby O. to also be registered for their own stem cell storage.

But…What Are Stem Cells and Why Store Them?

Without sounding too scientific, stem cells are the cells that make up the embryo. They’re essentially the original building blocks of a human and they later develop into the other cells in your body. Your child’s umbilical cord, normally discarded as medical waste after birth, is rich with stem cells. And this is where stem cell storage comes in. It’s the collecting and freezing of the cells collected at birth from the umbilical cord for possible use in the future, in case your child gets sick. It’s recommended to be done during delivery because it’s much less invasive than doing it later in life and it’s painless for both mom and baby.

The way Kev and I see it, it’s essentially insurance for Kai and Baby O. If they fall sick later in life, their own stem cells could help to cure them. Normally, we’d need to look for a donor whose stem cells would be a match for us to treat the illness. Even then, it’s never a guaranteed match and our bodies might reject them. But, Baby O.’s own cord blood will be a 100% match which means that there would be no risk of rejection. It’ll also have a 25% chance being a match to Kai or another future sibling. I think it’s a great way to put their umbilical cords to good use instead of chucking them to be honest.

Currently, cord blood stem cells are being used to help treat over 80 blood-related diseases. Some of those include:

  • Leukaemia
  • Lymphomas
  • Anaemia
  • Inherited Platelet Abnormalities
  • Inherited Immune System Disorders
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Cancers in the bone marrow

For people of Black African descent, it’s especially important to consider stem cell storage because we are unfortunately greatly under-represented on donation registries. To give you an idea in numbers, the chances of non-Black people finding a match is currently 1 in 100,000. Whereas Black or mixed people’s chances of finding a donor match is 1 in 400,000. So, because our kids are of mixed ethnicities – they’d have less of a chance finding a match. The cost of finding a match is currently a minimum of R250,000. And there’s no real way of knowing how long it’ll even take to find one.

We Chose Netcells to Store Our Kids’ Stem Cells

So before we had Kai, we weren’t really aware of stem cell banking and its benefits. We were introduced to the service by our OB/GYN a couple of months before Kai’s due date. It sounded interesting and we had a chat with the Netcells rep who explained everything to us very simply. Netcells was and still is the only official Discovery partner when it comes to stem cell storage and they offer up to 25% off the processing fee. to members. It made total sense for us to use them again this time around for Baby O. and keep the two siblings cells together – well, not technically but you know what I mean!

How Does it Work?

  1. Register online. Click here to find out more and register.
  2. Netcells will deliver the collection kit to you
  3. Pack the kit in your hospital bag – give this task to your partner, you have enough to remember for baby and yourself!
  4. Your OB/GYN or your midwife will collect what they need according to the collection kit
  5. Make sure your documents are correctly filled in
  6. Netcells team will come to collect the completed kit (partner should give them a call)
  7. Stem cells are processed at the lab and stored
  8. You’ll receive a confirmation email of the storage once payment is fully received

Where to Sign Up & Costs

The Netcells website has a handy pricing calculator where you can select which payment plan you’d prefer. For example, you can pay for everything (registration, storage and processing) upfront or you can break it up into monthly payments which is what we’ve done for Kai. At the moment, you’re looking at about R21,850 – R30,160 depending on if you choose to store just the cord blood or cord blood and tissue as well as the payment plan you choose. They’re actually currently running a special where they’re offering 20-year storage for free.

Use my Promo Code for a Special Gift

As an extra special treat, I’ve partnered with Netcells to give all of my dear A&L readers a R500 Baby City gift voucher. All you need to do is enter the code ‘AISHAANDLIFE’ when you register (before checking out) and on successful storage of your baby’s stem cells, your gift card will be sent to you.

So that, in a nutshell, is a new way on insuring your child’s health. As I mentioned in my Instagram video, if you’re paying for medical aid, house insurance and car insurance, why not consider this as insurance for your child. Hopefully, you won’t need it.

But if, in the future you do, you’ve got this as a backup plan.

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