My son James was my “oops” baby at 36 years old. After two beautiful daughters, we thought our family was complete. Sometimes life is not what we plan.
James seemed normal but after some failed developmental milestones, we went to a specialist and James was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At that time, we learned 1 in 150 children were diagnosed with ASD. In 2018, the rate is 1 in 67! We felt alone then but now it seems everyone I meet, knows someone or has a child affected by this puzzling disorder.
When James was diagnosed, we went from doctor to doctor searching for help with little information and no treatments on the horizon; it was a painful and difficult road. What today’s parents have to look forward to is more research and treatment for these kids and their families.
One of the most promising is cord blood stem cell infusions for ASD. Duke University is now in a Phase 2 trial infusing kids with autism with their own cord blood stem cells. These powerful cells travel through our body like little EMT driving ambulances with 4 wheel drive. They travel to parts of our body–in this case the brain and start setting up emergency rooms (without the long wait). These stem cells appear to repair some of those areas in the brain and improve speech, socialization and eye contact. Wow could I have used this when I was raising James. There is nothing as hard as not being able to help your child…What an exciting breakthrough!
Cord Blood is also used in the treatment of 80 diseases and half of all stem cell transplants. Cord blood stem cells can only be collected at the time of birth. The blood in the umbilical cord is drained into a collection bag where it is then transported to a lab, tested and cryopreserved.
I didn’t know what cord blood was when I started my family. I am not sure I would have collected it because I was not educated about its “magical powers”. In California, as in many states, cord blood education is now required so parents have a choice.
By the way, James is 25 and has a job, and recently learned to drive. He is a nice young man. Our life was forever changed raising a special needs child.
Nan Carpenter, BSN, RN, Director of Clinical Operations at Orange Coast Women’s Medical Group and the author of this blog, hopes her story touches many women’s hearts and encourages you to contact us today to learn more about Cord Blood Banking.