In addition to potentially life-saving stem cells, your newborn’s umbilical cord blood also contains their DNA. Storing your child’s cord blood ensures that their baseline genetic information will be available if ever needed.
What Can Genes Tell Us?
The sum total of all the information coded into your child’s individual genes is their genome. Simply put, it’s what makes your child unique. Your newborn’s genome determines whether they’ll grow up to be right or left handed, have brown or blue eyes, if they’ll need glasses, and how well they’ll sleep at night.
The information locked away in your newborn’s genome can be decoded to help anticipate potentially serious health risks, both now and as they grow older. Hospitals routinely conduct genetic screening tests on newborns using a heel prick test. Using a small amount of a newborn’s blood they screen for a number of harmful or potentially fatal genetic disorders. These tests help identify potential risks for biotinidase deficiency, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, galactosemia, maple syrup urine disease, MCAD deficiency, phenylketonuria, severe combined immunodeficiency, sickle cell disease, tyrosinemia, and toxoplasmosis.
With decades of research into mapping the human genome, researchers have also identified many of the genes associated with worries that keep parents up at night as their children grow – whether they have any allergies to foods, vaccines, medicines; questions about their physical development; and risks for inherited diseases later in life, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Heart Disorders, Breast & Colon Cancer, or to any other diseases.
Genetic Insights from Cord Blood
Scientists working to map the entire human genome don’t yet know all the associations between genes, childhood health, and personal development. However, what they’ve already discovered can be an early warning system for topics to discuss with your pediatrician.
Genetic testing of your child’s cord blood can identify potential food intolerances, like peanut allergies, lactose intolerance, and egg allergies. It also can identify potential immunities to vaccines, including measles-mumps-rubella, and smallpox; lethal reactions to medications like codeine; and difficulties metabolizing vitamins, such as D, B12, and E. Armed with this knowledge, your pediatrician can do further testing to confirm whether there is cause for concern.
You doctor can use only a small portion of the stem cells you stored with us for genetic analysis. They would simply contact us to request a small sample of your child’s stem cells for DNA analysis. Our team will have it processed and shipped to them.
Banking Cord Blood Archives DNA!
Newborn DNA is unlike that of older children and adults. In addition to the information about risks for inherited genetic diseases, it holds important baseline genetic information.
Doctors can compare this baseline genetic information later in life to find possible changes caused by environmental factors. Differences in the genome can provide insights into how food, drugs, stress, or exposure to toxins effect how genes function. Understanding environmental versus inherited factors can help determine available treatment options.
Banking your child’s cord blood also stores a record of their baseline DNA if ever needed.