Did you know that at every single Twiniversity expecting twins class since 2009 we have discussed cord blood banking? Before each class, a representative from CBR® joins us for an informational seminar. Many people who attend the Twiniversity class have no idea what cord blood banking even is, let alone if it’s something they should do. Sometimes people are like, “Why are these people even here?” And then I tell them my personal story.
Did you know that my son may have been able to use his own cord blood, had we decided to preserve it? Had I just taken the time to learn about banking, we may have had a different option.
Many people see me during our live videos and Facebook chats as a very happy-go-lucky kind of person. I am usually smiling, I can always find the silver lining to any situation, and I believe in living a life that is happy and unstressed (Does that actually happen? Not always, but I try!) But there’s actually a very serious side to me. When my twins were born at 34 weeks gestation, I was in pretty bad shape. I didn’t always do the right things. I didn’t even know what questions to ask, let alone ask them.
I didn’t know that there was something called Early Intervention. I didn’t even know that some hospitals have “preemie clinics.” If you are expecting, you may not either. It never even dawned on me that I might have a child that has special needs. I was so focused on getting myself healthy and making sure that my children were well that I never thought about the next day. I was always just trying to get through today.
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I have many regrets about that time, and it’s one of the reasons why I founded Twiniversity and focus so much time and effort on helping expecting families.
One of my biggest regrets is not preserving cord blood for my twins. I mean it. After my babies were born, my daughter was so ill that I wasn’t paying as close attention to milestones as I probably should have. I was watching every move my daughter made, but not necessarily my son. As the years progressed, my son did more and more unusual things. He would often run to me to give me a kiss, but come at me with such force that he would bash me in the face and give me a bloody nose. He would often hide in the closet or crawl underneath the couch. He would often stuff so many Cheerios or graham crackers into his mouth that his cheeks would expand like a chipmunk. Because I was a rookie mom, I didn’t realize that these were things I should be telling the pediatrician. I just thought that he was a peculiar kid. Not a big deal, because I always considered myself a peculiar person.
One day while my daughter was having physical therapy, her therapist asked me, “Have you ever had your son evaluated?” The therapist was watching him do his particular things. And that’s when I dawned on me: Perhaps this wasn’t typical behavior. Fast forward and we find out that my son could be the poster child for something called sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition that affects how the nervous system receives signals and reacts. Currently, cord blood is being researched as a potential treatment option for certain childhood neurological conditions and one day, I hope the research will also include SPD. Because my pregnancy was such a roller coaster, there were many things that I didn’t, honestly, even know about. Cord blood banking was one of those things.
During each informational session in class, the same questions get asked month after month. One of the big questions that comes up every time is, “Should I save the cord blood from both of my twins?” The representative, along with myself sometimes, always responds with a ringing, “Yes!”
Think about it; if one of your twins needs to use their stored cord blood, what will you do if the other twin may benefit from their own cord blood as well? In addition, there may be applications where the use of one’s own stem cells are needed, even if stem cells from an identical twin are available. If your twins are fraternal, it is also good to know that most current cord blood treatments require the use of a well matched donor’s stem cells, like a sibling’s. Fraternal twins have a 25% chance to be a perfect match to each other.
One of the things I love so much about CBR is that they have been so receptive to helping our Twiniversity families since we found them over eight years ago. I also love that they have Quality Standards and will contact you to discuss certain findings. This is a big deal.
What I find disappointing is that you can’t donate your twins’ cord blood to your local public cord blood bank. Did you know that they will not accept collections from multiple births? The reason for this is because public cord blood banks are focused on transplant medicine, so they are looking to store the largest possible units for use in a stem cell transplant. The collection volume for multiple births is, on average, smaller than singleton pregnancies, and the cord blood from separate babies cannot be combined due to regulations. So, unfortunately, public cord blood donation is not an option for Twiniversity moms.
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I speak so often to Twiniversity students about preparing for the arrival of their bundles of joy. It always amazes me how everybody thinks of things they could do today, but so little about what’s going to happen 10 years from now. I’ll admit it, I was clearly one of those people too. I remember when I was expecting that I just wanted to get them here happy and healthy. I had very strong tunnel vision. Woulda, coulda, shoulda! Instead of crying over spilled milk, I decided to always make sure that our expecting families have all of the information they need to make a decision on whether they want to preserve their children’s cord blood or not. It’s important that you understand people really do use the samples—in fact, CBR has had over 400 cord blood unit releases to date! Just think of the possibilities for those stem cells that your family will have at their fingertips. It’s truly the best birthday gift ever!
Natalie Diaz is the Pied Piper of twin families around the globe. Founding Twiniversity — the world’s leading support network for multiple birth families — in 2009, she’s become a global influencer for this small niche community. Reaching over a half a million families a week, Natalie is a true connector, bringing parents from all walks of life together, breaking past cultural differences, to share in the highs and lows of parenting twins.
We at Twiniversity are the biggest advocates of storing cord blood. Through the process of cord blood banking, you can save the newborn stem cells found in your babies’ umbilical cords at birth to use if there’s ever a medical need in the future that can be treated with newborn stem cells, such as with certain cancers, blood and immune diseases and some metabolic diseases.
Our trusted partner, CBR has been banking babies’ cord blood for over 20 years and is the largest family newborn stem cell bank in the world! CBR is the #1 choice of OB/GYNs and expecting parents. They partner with research institutions on FDA-regulated clinical trials to help advance newborn stem cell science (we are HUGE fans of science!). Plus, your family may qualify for free banking through CBR’s Newborn Possibilities Program®, where families with a qualifying medical need can receive free cord blood processing and five years of storage for cord blood and cord tissue.
Use the code DUO2 for special twins pricing through Twiniversity. Call 1-888-CORD-BLOOD or visit CordBlood.com