Monday, September 28, 2009

Stem cell banking - Part 2 - How to go about it ?

Step 1  : Read about stem cells and understand the need and how it can be used

Step 2 : Find out the players in the field in your area

Step 3 : Call them up to fix up an appointment and they will send a representative home for explaining everything to you and they will take you through a presentation with all information about stem cells.

Cost & Payment Options
The representative would also explain to you about the various price aspects. The cost is basically divided into a one time harvesting fee (for extracting stem cells from the cord blood) and storage fee. The storage fee could be paid every year or could be paid up front for 20 years or so. They would store the stem cells for us as long as we pay the storage fees. In addition to this, there is also an EMI option. Note: These terms are pertinent to Lifecell. However, I am not sure about other bankers

Step 4 : Once you opt for preserving your baby's stem cells, you need to fill out certain forms and make the payment based on the pricing plan you choose.

Step 5 : On payment, you will receive the cord blood collection kit along with the instruction manual. Read the instructions carefully and keep the gel packs in the freezer immediately. You need to take the whole kit and the gel packs from the refrigerator along with you to the hospital while going for delivery. On reaching the hospital. again keep the gel packs in the refrigerator.

Step 6 : Discuss with your doctor regarding your plans well in advance as he/she needs to know about this.

Step 7: Keep the contact numbers safely and inform the bank before you head for the hospital. They will send a representative to the hospital you are headed to.

Step 8 : After delivery, the cord blood sample taken from the umbilical cord will be sent to the laboratory and various tests will be taken to confirm it is fit for processing. Once the stem cells are extracted, the preservation certificate will be sent to you. Preserve the certificate carefully.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stem cell banking - A must read for all, esp To-Be-Moms

I am doing a post on stem cells as I think this is very important and everybody should be aware of stem cells, their importance and the effect it could have on anyone's life.

A timely mention about stem cell banking from a friend of mine when I was carrying got me to read and research a bit and what we learnt made me go through with it and we have preserved our daughter's stem cells.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells, as the name suggests, are the basic cells in our body, from which various kinds of cells are formed. They are blank cells with no specific function and given the right environment, they can regenerate into any kind of cell -say a blood cell, a nerve cell or a muscle cell. They can divide repeatedly and replenish cells within the body thus aiding the repair system in our body. They are also called as adult stem cells.

How do we benefit from stem cell?

As stem cells have the unique capability of transforming itself into any type of cell, they are being looked at for replacement of various cells and tissues and stem cells transplantation is becoming more viable and successful in curing lots of diseases. Stem cell is being looked at to cure various diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, etc. One type of stem cell therapy that we are already familiar with is the bone marrow transplant.

Sources of Stem cells

Bone marrow, embryonic tissue, amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood. Of these, rich sources of stem cells are the bone marrow and  umbilical cord blood, which is the blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta of a newborn child. In fact, research has it that "Cord blood is found to contain 10 times more stem cells than an equally sized portion of bone marrow.The major advantage is that umbilical cord blood stem cells are easier to gather than stem cells from the bone marrow. They have the unique ability to regenerate/reproduce into over 200 types of tissues.

What is stem cell banking?

Normally, the umbilical cord is discarded after birth. However, as the umbilical cord blood is a rich source of multi-potent stem cells, umbilical cord blood is collected soon after birth and stored in a stem cell bank, where stem cells are harvested from the cord blood and preserved in an appropriate environment . Umbilical cord blood stem cells hold immense potential for stem cell therapies, due to their versatile nature and easy availability.

How can the stored stem cell be used ?
Stem cells, collected from the umbilical cord of  the child, can be frozen and kept in a bank, which can be used later. God forbid, if something untoward happens to the child, there won't be any need to turn heaven and hell to find a matching donor.These stem cells can be surely used for the child, siblings or can even be donated to any patient (if there is a match) just like donating blood.


The advantages speak for themselves as stem cells therapy is a major breakthrough in the field of medicine and the medical research continues further to advance the technology. Stem cells have been proven to cure a lot of diseases. Refer to this link  and this link for a couple of success stories. There can be no doubt that it is definitely to our kids' advantage that we store their stem cells.


Right now, the cost for stem cell banking is high and not all can afford. There is also the fact that having spent so much, it may not be used at all. But whoever can afford it, they have to look upon it as a health insurance and health insurance always comes with a cost. That is how we looked at it and went ahead in spite of the high cost.
However all is not lost as there is also an EMI option in the pay structure for those who cannot the pay the whole amount in a single shot

Leading Stem cell bank in India

Lifecell is one among the leading players right now. The website has detailed information about stem cells and related information.

Disclaimer: This is not a product or service review. I am not advertising and no one is paying me to write this. This is a genuine wish to spread the knowledge and awareness of stem cells

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I wish I could

sing ! I never felt the need for it before and did not regret having a rather not so trained or tuned voice. I always wanted to learn to play an instrument but not singing. But now after Jillu is born, I really feel the need. I want to sing to her properly, especially, when I put her to bed, I want to be able to sing all those nice thaalaatu (lullaby) songs. Now, I envy all those who can sing even moderately well, mmmm... sigh.. I have to make do with the cassettes and cds..

Monday, September 21, 2009

A good find

Tired after the shifting (of my mom's residence) yesterday, we were all ready for a hearty meal and were also in a mood to try out a new eating joint. So, we, my parents, my husband and I, (Jillu being under my MIL's care), headed out to Mylai Masala, a pure veg restaurant. It has branches in Nandanam (near to Venkateshwara hospital) and Alwarpet (I think near to Anjaneyar temple) and we headed toward the Nandanam branch.

When we first entered, there was nobody to be seen. (Expected though, because we went at an odd time of 5:45 PM or 6:00 PM, well before the starting time, but we were tired and hungry and had to eat). So we were the only one there. We knew our choices would be limited because of the odd time and as expected, the Chinese and the tandoori items were not available. But most of the standard items were available and our plan B of going elsewhere did not materialize.

Now, to the actual part : The food was good. I won't say it was first-class variety. But the food was good and it was in the range of other chains of restaurants like VB, Sangeetha etc. Also, the price was not as costly as Saravana Bhavan and was fairly priced. At the end of the day, you get the value worth the money spent and it was money well spent for us yesterday. Our bill was around Rs 400 for the following items

1) Bonda - 2 plts
2) Pani Puri -2 sets
3) Adai avaial - 2 plts
4) Chana Bhatura - 2 plts
5) Podi Oothappam - 2 sets
6) Masal Dosai - 1
7) Noodle Dosai -1
8) Chocolate ice cream - 1
9) Coffee - 1

This restaurant has been open only for 6 months now and the rates may go up. But for now, Mylai Masala is a good find.