Most people have now heard about cord blood banking, but very few people know about placenta tissue banking. To be honest, I didn’t even know that placenta tissue banking was even an option until recently. I had no idea that it was a thing. I know about placenta encapsulation, but what is placenta tissue banking? Well now that I know more about it, I’m about to give you the 411 on placenta tissue banking and why you might want to consider it for your next birth.
What is Placenta Tissue Banking?
Placenta tissue banking refers to the collection and storage of stem cells from the placenta after the birth of a baby. Much like cord tissue, placenta tissue is rich in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These stem cells are multipotent, meaning that they can differentiate into many different types of cells, including organ and muscle tissue, skin, bone, cartilage, and fat cells. But placenta tissue is different because it contains MSCs that are a genetic match to mom. The placenta uses these stem cells to grow during pregnancy and after giving birth, they can be collected, stored, and regenerated easily to grow into a wide array of tissues in the body. Pretty cool, right?! Banking stem cells from the placenta in addition to those found in cord blood significantly increases the number of prenatal stem cells that are collected and preserved.
How is It Performed?
SIGN UP: First you need to choose the bank that you are going to use and sign up. I recommend making this decision and signing up between your 28th – 34th week of pregnancy. There aren’t very many companies that offer placenta tissue banking, but Americord is one of the only companies that offers cord blood, cord tissue and placenta tissue banking — meaning you can bank all 3 types together and the most stem cells possible!
Signing up and receiving your kit from Americord is free and easy! They don’t charge you until their lab has received your collection and has successfully stored your baby’s stem cells. (Not all banks work this way.)
RECEIVE KIT: Once you are registered, you will receive your collection kit within a matter of days. (If your due date is within 4 weeks when you sign up, Americord will overnight it to you at no additional charge.) You will then need to discuss the plan with your care provider and delivery team so that they know they will need to place your placenta in your collection kit for it to be banked.
BIRTH: Make sure to bring your collection kit with you in your hospital bag. After your baby is born, the placenta will be collected and placed in your kit. You then contact your bank that you have chosen and send the collection kit back to their facility center where they will then select the most valuable portions for processing and storage.
What are the Benefits of Placenta Tissue Banking?
It is believed that the mesenchymal cells (MSCs) and MSC-like cells contained in the placenta may have amazing regenerative powers. These stem cells have the potential to develop into many types of tissues throughout the body and they are also found to be useful in treating several diseases like liver, eye diseases, diabetic wounds, healing burns, Crohn’s disease, and even surgical scars. Over 50 clinical trials are currently researching treatments and uses for MSCs for different therapeutic applications. Some of the clinical trials involving MSCs for treatments and therapies include:
- Cartilage repair
- Heart disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Liver disease
- Serious wounds
- Skin grafts
- Spinal cord injury
- And more…
MSCs are the fastest growing area of stem cell research and it promises to provide many exciting new therapies in the future. While awaiting FDA approval for clinical use, MSCs are being used in a number of these clinical trials and more opportunities are being discovered every day.
Placenta tissue banking increases the chances that the life of your child or someone you love could one day be saved by the very organ and cells that once nourished your child in the womb. That is pretty incredible.
For more information about placenta tissue banking, contact Americord. They are one of the only banks to offer placenta tissue banking. They believe that stem cell banking shouldn’t just be about protecting baby, but mom too.