This post was sponsored by Salveo – cord blood.
I have done a few posts on stem cells this year and why I think that it is important to invest in it so writing this post breaks my heart a little – because I had such high expectations for my procedure that happened in June.
Before I go any further I just want to let you know that I don’t blame Salveo or my doctor for this and I know that they both tried their best to get what they could out of the sample they had.
I assumed that everything would go the way that it was supposed to on the day in the theater because what could really go wrong? This procedure has been done several times before, right?
Stem cells storage isn’t exactly cheap in South Africa so when you invest in it, you are hoping that it works 100%.
I for one did not expect the shocking results that we had received a few days after my baby was born – but it was too late…
As a parent, there is nothing that you can really do to change anything in the collection process. However, you can make sure that your doctor and his team are educated enough about the procedure especially if they have not done it before.
There’s only ONE opportunity to get this right! It cannot be done again.
There are three main reasons why a cord blood collection may not be successful:
- An insufficient amount of blood may be collected.
- A lower-than-usual amount of blood may be collected and the stem cell count in the collection is very low.
- The sample may be contaminated with a bacteria at the time of the collection.
In our situation, it was number 2 – a low number of stem cells in the sample collected.
In order for a cord blood stem cell transplant to be successful, there needs to be a sufficient number of stem cells in the blood collected from the umbilical cord. The number of stem cells is, in general, directly proportional to the amount of blood collected. Usually, at least 80ml of blood can be collected from the cord of a full-term infant from an in-utero collection. Additional ex-utero collection can be performed to increase the total volume collected.
In our situation, only 17ml of umbilical cord blood was submitted and the number of haematopoietic stem cells (blood producing stem cells) (CD34+ cells) in the collection was 214 832. I know, that might sound foreign to you but what that basically says is that… it’s not enough but they can work with it if you really want them too.
Umbilical cord blood contains potentially lifesaving hematopoietic (blood) stem cells. When used in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the umbilical cord blood offers several distinct advantages over bone marrow or peripheral stem cells.
Honestly, I was a bit shattered when we got the results back because I felt as if enough was done in the theater to make sure that we collected the amount that we needed. It was only afterward that I realized that overthinking it would just drive me crazy! I needed to move on.
According to the Salveo website, there are a number of medical and physiological reasons why a sufficient volume of umbilical cord blood is not able to be collected. This may occur, for example, in low birth-weight infants and in situations of delayed clamping of the umbilical cord.
Honestly, I still don’t know what went wrong in my procedure but I’m not going to blame anyone for it. I think I learned a lot from this journey.
Various blood tests, stem cell counts, and blood cultures are performed, on Salveo’s behalf, by a Private Pathology Laboratory before they collate the results, particularly the blood culture results, and contact you which is approximately 10 days after the birth of your baby.
Salveo gave me an option of a refund or an adjusted fee since the cord blood collection was not successful. My husband and I decided to store what we have anyway because I think every drop matters. I pray we would never need to use it, but I am glad we do have something stored.
It’s so important to educate yourself especially about the WHAT Ifs, terms & conditions etc. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or stem cell storage company questions even in the theater.
If you would like any additional information or would like to discuss the collection, processing and testing procedure, please contact Cryo-Save or Salveo on 087 8080 170.