During a pregnancy, a mom-to-be is faced with so many decisions that it can become overwhelming. Many of those decisions—such as how to share the good news, how many onesies to get or what color to paint the nursery—can be made on a whim. Other decisions, however, such as which prenatal tests to undergo or which medications to take while pregnant, require research and forethought.
Today, thanks to advances in stem cell research, there is one more important decision for a new mom to make: to bank, or not to bank, her baby's amniotic fluid.
Because there are still many unknowns related to amniotic fluid and its potential for future uses, the decision to have it collected for storing is one you may want to discuss with your partner and your health care provider. Below you'll find information to help you decide.
First, you need to understand what amniotic fluid is and why it may be valuable enough to you and your family for storing.
What Is Amniotic Fluid?
Amniotic fluid is the clear, slightly yellowish liquid that surrounds your baby within the amniotic sac. In addition to providing your baby with nourishment and protection while he or she is in utero, amniotic fluid has additional benefits, because it is one of richest, natural sources of stem cells.
Why Bank Amniotic Fluid?
There are three significant benefits to banking amniotic fluid:
1. Inside amniotic fluid are mesenchymal stem cells. This type of stem cell is pluripotent, which means it has the ability to grow into different tissues and may ultimately be used to treat a variety of conditions. Current research shows the benefits of using these stem cells to help regenerate different organs and tissues including kidney, bone, skin, cartilage, liver and heart.
2. Amniotic fluid stem cells are a perfect match for the baby, meaning organs and tissues grown from these cells will always be accepted by the body without risk of rejection.
3. Amniotic fluid stem cells may also match immediate family members so preserving amniotic fluid may provide opportunities for siblings and parents to take advantage of medical advances.
How Is Amniotic Fluid Collected?