Making Cord Blood Banking Part of Your Birth Plan

By: Heather Lochner, special to Oh Baby! Magazine CReATe Rev

Would you like to give birth at home or in a hospital? Are you going straight for the pain meds or hoping to hold out on an epidural? Who do you want in the room when your baby is born? Will you hire a birth doula? And, have you considered banking your baby’s cord blood? These are all questions that should be considered when preparing a birth plan.

For those moms-to-be working with bebo mia inc., a full-service fertility, pregnancy and parenting practice in Toronto, a workbook is filled out before the initial prenatal appointment to help answer some of these important birth planning questions.

“The goal of a birth plan is to help us get to know our clients better, and to help women feel more comfortable and confident as they head into labour,” says Bianca Sprague, bebo mia’s CEO and a practicing birth doula. “We believe all women should be educated and prepared to make informed decisions throughout the birth process.”

One of these informed decisions involves cord blood banking—a practice Sprague says has been rising in popularity amongst her clients. “Today, about 70 percent of our clients opt to harvest their cord blood upon delivery,” Sprague says. “And, that number continues to rise as medical advancements turn up new uses for the stem cells retrieved from the remaining placenta and umbilical cord blood.”

But, deciding to bank your baby’s cord blood doesn’t just require a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. There are a number of choices an expecting mom has to make. “As with all choices around labour and delivery, we always promote informed decision making,” says Natasha Marchand, bebo mia’s COO and Director of Fertility. “To help our clients, we lay out all the facts—the pros and the cons—and help them make a choice that works best for them and their families.”

Once a mom decides to go ahead with cord blood banking, she’s then faced with the decision of which bank to use. To help make this choice easier for its clients, bebo mia entered into a working partnership with CReATe Cord Blood Bank in the summer of 2012. “Not only does CReATe have an amazing and helpful staff, a brand new, state-of-the-art lab with advanced technology that makes the banking process more effective, and an impressive track-record—they are also the only bank in Canada licensed to harvest and store Peristem™ cells alongside cord blood,” says Sprague.

Peristem™ mesenchymal stem cells are found in the tissues surrounding the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and are the building blocks of the structural components of our bodies (bone, cartilage, muscle, fiber, and fat). Banking Peristem™ stem cells opens up a whole new range of potential when it comes to treating medical conditions such as heart disease, degenerative arthritis, Crohn’s disease and more.

These days, most bebo mia clients are opting to bank both cord blood and Peristem™ stem cells, giving them the widest range of insurance for the future.

“I didn’t bank my cord blood when my baby was born, and now after spending time with the team at CReATe and touring their lab—I really wish I had,” says Sprague. “The good news is, for our clients who didn’t bank with their first child, the cord blood banked for any subsequent child, may still prove to be beneficial for all siblings—and possibly even the parents.”

Most women who come to bebo mia have heard about cord blood banking from friends or relatives, but many don’t realize how extensive the medical research is around the potential uses for these harvested cells. To help promote education, bebo mia is in the process of preparing their own information sessions, in partnership with CReATe, to provide clients with all the facts they need to make an informed decision. “Planning for your baby’s future begins with a well-thought out birth plan, and there’s no doubt that cord blood banking should be one consideration during the planning process.”


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