What is a stem cell? Most people are familiar with the term ‘stem cells,’ but may not be aware of the fundamental differences between embryonic and cord blood stem cells. Generally speaking, stem cells are primitive cells found in both animals and humans that have the ability to transform into different kinds of cells.
These stem cells may be used to become more specialized cells like nerve, muscle or blood cells, or they might just remain in their current form and multiply. Stem cells have been implicated in many health advances, but there are some big differences between embryonic and cord blood stem cells that you should know about.
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells are so named because they are derived from human embryos. To collect these kinds of stem cells is a complex and costly process. A woman must be stimulated with many different medications in order to collect many eggs, then those eggs must be inseminated to create the human embryo.
As you may already know, the topic of embryonic stem cells often results in strong ethical and religious debates, because human embryos must be destroyed in order to generate the cells. Even though the embryos were never going to develop into a walking, breathing person, many religions cannot condone their use, no matter how helpful they are. Embryonic stem cells have yet to be used to treat a medical disease or condition in a human.
Cord Blood Stem Cells
Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood are inexpensive and very simple to collect, in comparison. Every baby that is born has an umbilical cord and within that cord are the valuable stem cells. Just as the child feels no pain or discomfort from cutting the cord, there is also no pain when collecting the cord blood.
Unlike the embryonic stem cells, there is no cause for moral debate with cord blood cells. If the blood isn’t harvested and used for its valuable stem cells, it is only thrown in the garbage as a waste product. You can store your baby’s umbilical cord blood in a private bank or sometimes in a public.
So far, stem cells derived from cord blood have been used to treat more than 80 different kinds of diseases or conditions around the world. And with the success rate, as well as the general acceptance of using the cells, these numbers are only going to increase.
About the author: Julia Franko understands the important of cord blood banking. For something that it so easy to collect, it is a very important part if you or a family member falls ill. That is why she always recommendsas a great cord blood banking option. To learn more, visit their website today.