Why I Chose to Bank Cord Blood with CReATe
I recently had my third baby. He was born very quickly and shares a birthday with his older brother. When we were having Henry (number one!), we toyed with the idea of storing cord blood, but the price tag actually scared us off. This time around, we were given the opportunity to bank with CReATe in Toronto, and after meeting with them, learning about the program and company, we made our decision.
CReATe Stem Cell and Blood Bank is part of a larger company that actually started as a fertility clinic. They expanded to include cord banking. What makes CReATe unique is that they take stem cells and blood – and stem cells are basically the “Universal Donor” of human tissue – they can be used to create basically any other tissues – stem cells can be used for blood, tissue, bone marrow and more.
I was very interested in stem cell banking, but I was also very curious about delayed cord clamping and if it can be done with stem cell collection. If you are having a baby soon, you may have heard of delayed cord clamping – it’s when your practitioner waits a few minutes after baby is born before clamping the cord to help baby get a little extra oomph – mostly iron and good stuff from the umbilical cord. It’s been scientifically proven that cord clamping can be beneficial for baby, but how can I get my cord blood and stem cells collected? At CReATe, they suggest delaying only for two minutes (which, according to science, is actually the maximum amount of time that delaying is useful) and then collect your cord blood immediately afterwards. Both can be done – the blood sample must be done quickly, but the umbilical cord can be a bit longer to have happen.
With these factors in mind, I had a chance to meet with Liat from CReATe and she told me about the youngest successful use of a PeriStem (cord sample) to help save a life in Canada. Last year, a family that had banked with CReATe found out shortly after delivery that due to traumatic things in labour, the baby had a brain injury. They were able to use their baby’s own umbilical cord to create new brain tissue and heal baby’s injuries. On his first birthday, baby was hitting all his milestones and any trauma was completely erased. I had no idea that stem cells could be used so quickly after sample!
As for our own birth, Angus was born at home, and even though he came so fast that the second midwife didn’t make it in time, Matt was able to help our primary midwife collect the sample for the bank. My brother helped us by having the sample delivered within 24 hours of collection (this is the one tricky thing), and now, we wait to confirm that the samples are viable.
One of the nice things about CReATe’s all-in-one payment for collection and one year of storage is that after the first year, you pay less than $10 a month to continue to store your samples at their bank. If you refer new clients, that payment is almost entirely free (you get around $100 as a bonus for every referral!). And if you do decide you no longer want to keep your sample, you can donate to one of Canada’s donor banks where they use acceptable samples to help people all over the country by using donated stem cells to help fight disease and regrow tissue.
If I had known all of this four years ago, I think I would have been less afraid to jump in with CReATe. And with their baby shower registry option, you can always ask friends and family help with the cost. And yes, it’s not cheap, but it’s like a little bit of insurance for your family. We never want to think of the worst, but imagine how relieved you’d be if something DID potentially go wrong and you could help resolve it with this little bit of forethought?
It’s a tricky thing, but I also find it so fascinating. What about you? Have you banked blood or umbilical cord using Create? What made you decide to do it? I’d love to hear other’s experiences!