Storing Cord Blood

OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson strongly encourages parents to bank their children’s umbilical cord blood and notes, “Over 95 percent of cord blood is just wasted.”  Dr. Lisa explains that cord blood is made up of placental blood cells, which are immature cells that can turn into any other cells in the body, such as organs and tissues, and can heal them.

Dallas was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth. He couldn’t speak, walk, crawl, wave or even smile. Eighteen months later, Dallas underwent an experimental medical procedure at Duke University that changed his life. His parents, Derek and Cynthia, had banked Dallas’ umbilical cord blood at birth, and those cells were injected intravenously into Dallas’ arm in the hopes that they would repair the damage in his brain. Today, Dallas is walking, running and throwing balls!   

“The fog over him just lifted and he became like a [normal] little boy,” Derek says.

Cerebral palsy is a form of paralysis believed to be caused by a prenatal brain defect or by brain injury during birth. It effects muscular movement and coordination and sometimes involves speech and learning difficulties.

Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. James Baumgartner, a leading expert in non-embryonic stem cell research, explains that there are two theories for how stem cell infusions promote healing. One is that the stem cells are able to find the area of injury and replace missing or damaged cells, and the other is that the stem cells find the general area of affliction and induce healing.

While not all outcomes are exactly alike, Dallas' story provides hope to families who may be concerned about birth defects.