For husband and wife, Michael and Armené*, the decision to preserve their first son Vaughn’s newborn stem cells was a precautionary measure. Just as they would invest in other areas of life, like a 401(k) or real estate, it only made sense to do the same for their baby. They were new to parenting and wanted to be prepared for any possible what-ifs that could come their way.
Since newborn stem cells have the ability to treat a variety of cancers and disorders, they knew they had nothing to lose. Once their son Vaughn arrived into the world in 2015, the blood from his umbilical cord (also called cord blood) was collected and sent to Cord Blood Registry®(CBR®), a private newborn stem cell preservation company, to be stored in their lab.
The couple never imagined the day would come when they would need Vaughn’s newborn stem cells—until it did.
This Mother’s Day, Michael and Armené are sharing their story to shed light on how cord blood banking—the process of collecting and storing these life-saving stem cells—with CBR may potentially help benefit the future health of your children and family.
A Second Chance with Cord Blood Banking
In 2017, Michael and Armené welcomed the birth of their second son, Sasoun. Their minds flashed to all of the exciting moments they’d get to experience once more with having a newborn. Bathing him for the first time, rocking him to sleep every night, dressing him in teeny-tiny, adorable newborn clothes, watching him and his older brother, Vaughn, interact with each other, and, of course, snuggling him every single day.
But one week later, the family was given news that would completely change their new life with Sasoun—along with everything they’d once envisioned. Their pediatrician informed them that Sasoun was born with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, a rare genetic disorder that causes infants to have an extremely impaired immune system.
The life-threatening disease, sometimes referred to as SCID, would make Sasoun susceptible to infections. Even the most benign illness, like a cold, would be fatal for him, and if left untreated, the disorder could lead to death within the first year, or two, of his life.
Sasoun and Armené were immediately transferred to the hospital and kept in a sterile environment to keep him safe from potential exposure to viruses and bacteria. To save his life, Sasoun would need a genetically matched donor to undergo a stem cell transplant.
“We had to go to the hospital and be in isolation, and I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, so I had to stay in the room with Sasoun for three months,” Armené recalls. “It was difficult.”
Before the what-ifs of Michael and Armené’s future could fully sink in, they remembered there was a silver lining: Vaughn’s preserved newborn stem cells they banked with CBR just two years prior. As if that wasn’t already the news that could turn their lives around, they quickly discovered Vaughn’s cord blood was a perfect match for Sasoun.
“At that point, we were kind of like, man, this is the magic bullet,” Michael remembers. “We can’t believe we have it, but we have it.”
With the exciting news that Vaughn’s cord blood was a match, CBR worked with Sasoun’s physician to send over the newborn stem cells. He was able to complete his transplant and, six weeks later, Sasoun was able to finally return home. While he had to remain quarantined for a year, Sasoun was able to fully recover and was given a second chance at life.
Today, Sasoun is living a healthy and normal life, which he credits to his “hero” Vaughn.
“The treatment Sasoun received gave him a future,” says Armené. “Without it, he may not have been here today. They are just the most incredible boys you could wish for and they love each other so much.”
CBR®: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity
Michael and Armené are a reminder of the importance of being prepared for life’s what-ifs. By banking your baby’s cord blood and cord tissue with CBR—the #1 choice of parents and #1 recommended family newborn stem cell preservation company by OB/GYNs**—you can have peace of mind for the unknowns and unexpected challenges of life.
Preserve your newborn stem cells at birth to have the opportunity to use them in the future by either your child or their full siblings who have a 75% chance of being at least a partial match. The collection process is simple and safe for both you and your baby.
Once your family enrolls, you’ll receive a kit sent to your home with everything needed for collection. Simply take the kit with you to the hospital, let your birth team know that you are planning to preserve with CBR, and your healthcare provider will use the kit to collect your baby’s newborn stem cells. Once the cord blood and cord tissue are collected, just call the medical courier number found on the box, and the kit will be shipped to their lab in Arizona. You’ll be notified when your newborn stem cells are processed and stored!
As Mother’s Day approaches, consider giving the gift of cord blood banking to your family and potentially protect your family’s future health. For more information, visit cordblood.com.
The use of cord blood is determined by the treating physician and is influenced by many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the characteristics of the sample, and whether the cord blood should come from the patient or an appropriately matched donor. Cord blood has established uses in transplant medicine; however, its use in regenerative medicine is still being researched. There is no guarantee that potential medical applications being studied in the laboratory or clinical trials will become available.
Cord tissue use is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue will be available in the future. Cord tissue is stored whole. Additional processing prior to use will be required to extract and prepare any of the multiple cell types from cryopreserved cord tissue. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s activities for New York State residents are limited to collection of umbilical cord tissue and long-term storage of umbilical cord–derived stem cells. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s possession of a New York State license for such collection and long-term storage does not indicate approval or endorsement of possible future uses or future suitability of these cells.
*This family’s story depicts the family’s personal experiences and is not necessarily representative of other’s experiences and cannot predict outcomes for others. CBR cannot and does not guarantee specific results. Your physician or other healthcare providers should be consulted about your particular situation.
**Blind survey, Egg Strategy, 10/19, funded by CBR.