Stem Cells have been broadly classified into four cells: (1) embryonic stem cells; (2) foetal stem cells; (3) umbilical stem cells; and (4) adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells belong to a human embryo. Foetal stem cells are extracted from aborted foetal tissue. The use of both embryonic and foetal stem cells is somewhat controversial, the embryonic stem cells majorly. There are studies going on, to check the safety of the embryo. Umbilical stem cells and adult stem cells are two commonest and less risky stem cells of all, where umbilical stem cells come from the umbilical cord and the placenta, and the adult stem cells are extracted from adult peripheral blood, bone marrow and other tissues of the body.
From the above, adult stem cells are theoretically considered to come from embryos, and includes the cells traced in the umbilical cord and the placenta. The prime difference between adult stem cells and umbilical cord & placenta stem cells is that both umbilical & placenta stem cells are extracted from newly born babies.
Parents who have stored cord blood cells of their child are well-aware of the usefulness of storing the umbilical cord blood of their newborns for future use, if required. However, people with no children or those mothers who gave birth to their children much before this life-saving alternative was introduced, need not worry. Cord blood storage banks come to their rescue for they offer to preserve both umbilical stem cells as well as adult stem cells. The adult stem cells are preserved after they are collected from adult peripheral blood. The entire procedure is quite similar to collecting blood samples for testing. Earlier, an aphaeresis procedure used to be performed that required the artificial stimulation of stem cell generation by the bone marrow of the donor, through the usage of growth-stimulating hormonal injections, many days before the collection took place. This method was quite costly with many side effects for some donors.
Adult stem cell preservation also costs a minimum of USD 1,600 along with an annual storage fee to be given. The basic price includes an enrolment fee, collection of specimen, cord blood collection kit, express shipping, testing, processing and cryopreservation. The cell storage alone costs USD 125 approximately. Some major cord blood banks do also offer attractive payment plans for the same. Adult stem cell preservation offers a unique opportunity to everyone to protect themselves and their near and dear ones.