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Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Preservation

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With the birth of your baby, you realise that you will want to be able to do anything to protect and care for someone who is totally dependent on you and who will become the most important person in your life.

At Sanitas we want to help protect the health of your family, so we have created the Umbilical Stem Cell Service, which conserves stem cells from umbilical cord blood (UCB) in a private bank, for use now and in the future.

What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the source of all other cells, from which all structures are derived: skin, muscles, bones, blood, nerve fibres and all organs.

They have the ability to regenerate or to proliferate and therefore produce all types of cells depending on their degree of maturity. Throughout life, stem cells are very important as they repair the body when you are injured or ill.

What is in the SCU that makes it so valuable?

UCB stem cells can be used for an autologous or unrelated allergenic transplant (probability of compatibility between siblings 30%).

Although the likelihood of using it is low (approximately 1 in 10,000) the success of a transplant from a matched sibling UCB is higher and has a lower incidence of GVHD compared with transplantation from a public bank. For this reason alone, it is beneficial to preserve SCU.

Why keep the UCB stem cells from your baby?

  • They can be used to treat serious blood diseases.
  • They have great future potential to treat serious diseases.
  • The cells can be used within the family and are available immediately. In unrelated allergenic transplants, the compatibility and survival rate is higher among matched siblings.
  • The point of delivery of your baby is the only opportunity to obtain stem cells from the umbilical cord. It is a completely painless and risk-free process.

How do I access the service?

1. Initial contact

Call us on 902 500 224 and we will provide you with full information.

2. Documentation kit

You will be provided with a kit which contains the following:

  • Instructions for the family
  • Contract
  • Consent form
  • Instructions for medical staff
  • A history sheet
  • Ice packs to keep the sample at the correct temperature when it is being transported so that the quality of the sample is maintained. You must not forget to put the ice-packs in the freezer until the time of delivery. It is very important to inform your gynaecologist that you will be preserving the stem cells.
  • You have to sign the contract and send the original to Sanitas. Complete the “Ammamnesis history " and also include the mother´s analysis.

3. At the time of delivery

Prepare the kit before leaving for the hospital. Remove the ice packs from the freezer and put them in the pack. Take the extraction kit to the hospital and give it to the medical staff who are taking care of your delivery. They will then prepare everything necessary for proper extraction. The medical team will find an envelope in the extraction kit with their instructions, as well as a copy of the consent form.

4. After delivery

Once the umbilical cord has been cut and your baby is being cared for, blood is drawn from the umbilical cord. The procedure is simple and without risk to either mother or baby.

5. Inform Sanitas after extraction

Once the extraction is complete and the medical staff have given you your kit, you will need to call our recollection service, who will collect it and take it to Madrid, where it will be processed.

6. Specialised Sending

Our logistics system is designed so that the sample reaches the laboratory within 48 hours of collection.

7. Processing the sample

The blood is processed under strict sterile conditions. The stem cells are separated and the sample will be cryo-preserved at -196 º, in liquid nitrogen. Once the sample is cryopreserved and the mother´s test results are received, the sample is sent for final storage at a bank in Lisbon. Sanitas will confirm the viability the sample within 48 hours of delivery. Then we will send both you and the gynaecologist the report from the UCB cryopreservation, approximately a month after giving birth. The SCU unit is finally transferred to the cryopreservation bank in Lisbon three months after delivery. It is also possible to have the sample cryopreserved in Madrid (according to current Spanish legislation).

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