How Long Can Stem Cells be Stored?
Stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord and placenta can provide life-saving treatment for your baby or a family member. Cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue contain immature cells that can regenerate, restore, repair, and replace cells to treat various health conditions and disorders.
Private cord banks preserve and store stem cells that families can use for future medical treatments if needed. The freezing process pauses the stem cell life cycle to halt further cell development and potential damage. Storing stem cells with a reputable private cord bank can potentially provide your baby or family with life-saving treatment options in the future.
How Are Stem Cells Collected?
Life-saving stem cells can be collected from umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord tissue, and placenta tissue. Physicians, midwives, and stem cell storage laboratories collect stem cells in the following ways:
Cord Blood Collection
To collect cord blood, a midwife or doctor clamps and cuts the umbilical cord after a woman gives birth. They will then draw blood from the cord to transfer it to a special collection bag. Next, a medical courier picks up the blood collection kit and delivers it to a laboratory. In the laboratory, medical professionals separate stem cells from the blood and store them in specially-designed bags.
Cord Tissue Collection
Placental Tissue Collection
A doctor or midwife can collect placental tissue after collecting the cord blood and cord tissue if a family decides to bank all three types of stem cells. Americord’s CryoMaxx™ placenta stem cell processing method isolates the placental tissue’s amnion and chorion layers to create a versatile tissue.
How Can Stem Cells Be Stored?
Safe and secure storage is crucial for stem cell samples. Cryopreservation is a storage process using controlled-rate freezers to preserve stem cells. Computer-controlled freezers gradually and precisely decrease the temperature to prevent the cells from forming ice crystals. This allows the highest level of viable cells to remain safe during storage and thawing. These devices provide electronic records and hard-cover copies of each freeze run.
A controlled-rate freezer cools stem cells at approximately 1 degree Celcius per minute before the cells are stored in liquid nitrogen.
How Long Do Stem Cells Last Frozen?
Stem cells can last extended periods of time once they are frozen. When cells are frozen at cryogenic temperatures, cell activity ceases and eliminates the potential for further damage. Stem cell integrity remains intact when the cells are frozen because all molecular movement stops.
How Long Can Stem Cells Be Stored?
Since freezing stem cells ceases molecular movement and eliminates further damage, stem cells can be stored for years and even decades until they are needed. Stem cell storage began in the 1990s, so the data on preserved stem cell life spans is limited. However, researchers have found that cord blood stored for over 10 years does not show any significant deterioration, and stem cells can last for decades in storage.
A private cord bank stores stem cells safely for later use if a family ever needs them for medical treatment. The freezing process pauses the stem cell life cycle to halt further development and potential damage so stem cells maintain their life-saving properties.
Are There Complications With Stem Cell Storage?
It’s important to choose a safe and effective stem cell storage facility. Without the proper cryopreservation methods and procedures, some complications can occur. Crystal formations can distort cell shape during the freezing process, but using the proper methods and temperature prevents crystal formations from piercing, smashing, and tearing cells. If remaining liquid solutes are present during the freezing process, they can damage cells through mechanical, osmotic, and chemical effects.
Cryoprotecting agents (CPAs) form chemical bonds with water to lower the melting temperature and increase solute concentration, preventing crystals from forming. CPAs in high concentrations can cause cell toxicity, but thawing cells quickly reduces the likelihood of toxicity. Stem cell storage banks reduce potential complications with the following protocols:
- Freezing only the highest quality cells
- Using the correct freezing speed and optimizing the cooling rate to the cell type
- Storing cells below negative 130 degrees Celcius
- Thawing cells quickly
What Are the Benefits of Stem Cell Storage?
Stem cell storage is incredibly beneficial. Stem cells are immature cells with the potential to develop into platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. These regenerating cells can save your child’s life or a family member’s life in certain medical situations. Stem cell treatments use stem cells to repair, replace, restore, and regenerate cells. Storing your baby’s stem cells can provide the following benefits:
Stem cells from cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue can save your child’s life if they ever experience a life-threatening medical condition. They can also serve as a bone marrow transplant alternative or rebuild your child’s immune system following chemotherapy. Stem cells can treat the following conditions in your child and family members:
- Immune system conditions
- Blood disorders
- Genetic diseases
- Heart conditions
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Neurological disorders
A Guaranteed Match for Your Baby
Stem cell storage is incredibly beneficial for your baby because their cord blood, cord tissue, or placenta tissue will always provide a 100% match for them. Their stem cells will always be a guaranteed match that can rebuild any damaged or injured cells if needed.
Potential to Treat or Save Family Members
Your baby’s stem cells can also save or treat family members if they experience life-threatening medical conditions. There’s a 25% chance your baby’s cord blood will perfectly match a sibling if their sibling needs stem cell treatment. In some cases, a lesser match can also be used to treat a sibling.
Choose Americord for Your Cord Blood Banking Needs
Stem cells have the potential to provide life-saving treatment for various health conditions and disorders. Preserving your baby’s cord blood can provide peace of mind that they have access to a guaranteed match in the event they need it, and it can also provide treatment options for family members.
Americord collects, processes, and stores stem cells for families to use in future life-saving or therapeutic treatments. We do not offer treatments and cannot guarantee that the saved stem cells will be applicable in every situation, but your physician will determine the ultimate use in any medical situation you encounter.
Americord offers unparalleled transparency, exceptional service, and advanced storage options to help families secure their longevity and health. If you are pregnant and are looking for more information about newborn stem cell banking, give one of our Stem Cell Specialists a call (866-503-6005) today! You can also learn more here on our website.
The views, statements, and pricing expressed are deemed reliable as of the published date. Articles may not reflect current pricing, offerings, or recent innovations.