Stem Cells From Umbilical Cord Blood: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cryopreservation

The cryopreservation of stem cells from umbilical cord blood has advantages for the health of your child, but also some disadvantages.

The umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells, cells with ability to differentiate into all tissues of the body.

Due to the properties of proliferative and the degree undifferentiated in these cells, are seen as a potential therapeutic for many diseases, in particular hematologic diseases, metabolic disorders and some types of cancer, through transplantation.

In addition they can be used in your own (autologous transplant), these cells allow a brother or another family member the closest (allograft) can use the sample criopreservada in case of illness.

In addition to umbilical cord blood, the stem cells are also present in the bone marrow, however, there are fewer and they are more difficult to access.


The process of accession to the solutions of cryopreservation should occur up to two months before the birth. At that time, parents should purchase a collection kit blood and tissue of the umbilical cord with the company that they chose to perform the cryopreservation of the stem cells of the baby.

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The procedure of harvesting of the cells is the responsibility of the obstetrician, that must be informed by parents in advance, being totally safe and painless to both the mother and the newborn.

After harvesting, the bank chosen by the parents is informed to make the transport time to the laboratory, where it proceeds to the analysis and cryopreservation of cells in liquid nitrogen to 196 negative, for at least 20 years.

Get to know the advantages and disadvantages of preserving the stem cells from the umbilical cord of your child.


The main therapeutic advantages of stem cells from the umbilical cord are:

  1. These cells are 100% compatible with the baby, and there is less risk of rejection by the body upon transplantation. In addition, there is a 25% chance that they are compatible with a brother.
  2. Less risk of being rejected by the host, one of the main cause of death in the transplantation allogeneic. The bone marrow cells transplanted identify the cells of the recipient as foreign and attack the cells and the tissue.
  3. The probability of survival is higher when it is a transplant of that when it comes to a donor as anonymous.
  4. The stem cells are quickly available and can be used at any time. It is not necessary to search for a donor, do tests or permits, which may take at least 50 days.
  5. The percentage of stem cells, quality, is higher in umbilical cord blood. As they are collected in a stage in which the stem cells are still immature, this allows them a greater capacity of differentiation and multiplication.
  6. The collection of umbilical cord blood is a process fast, painless and free of risks for the mother and for the baby, since it is done after the cutting of the cord.
  7. The protection of the placenta ensures that the cord blood stem cells, are free of viruses or diseases and have a lower risk of transmission of infection or virus.
  8. The treatment with stem cells is effective in the treatment of some leukemias, anemias, lymphomas, malignancies or multiple syndromes.

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  1. The number of cells required for a transplant effective is 5 to 10 times lower than in the bone marrow. Taking into account the age and weight of the patient, as well as the disease, this may be a limitation.
  2. The recovery time blood is longer than that in the case of transplantation of bone marrow or the peripheral blood.
  3. Cells can only be harvested once and does not allow for multiple collections. If you need more cells, probably, do not have enough reserves.
  4. The amount of cells collected depends on the thickness and size of the umbilical cord which can limit the number of cells extracted. When the number of cells is low, only allows to treat pathologies in children up to 30kg, which limits their applicability in later stages of life.
  5. Some leukemias and congenital disorders due to chromosomal abnormalities do not allow the use of stem cells from the own, because if he would reintroduce the disease to eliminate it.
    6. It is a costly process, and that the diseases that can be treated by transplanting these cells are prevalence rare.
  6. There are no guarantees that a sample of umbilical cord blood has good quality past 20-25 years of storage.
  7. Private banks is the fact that the genetic material can only be used by himself or by his family, which for most of the diseases in question is not the solution.

In short, despite being a therapy with some interesting potential, a large part of the experts does not consider relevant to make an investment so high, since it does not represent a “health insurance” effective.

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