Cord blood banking has recently hit headlines as the latest in a list of overwhelming offerings for expectant parents.
So what exactly does the procedure involve, is it a must, and why should parents be looking at this as an option for their children in the future?
Expectant mother and Herald Focus reporter, Laura McGoldrick, met with the Co-Founder of CordBank, Jenni Raynish, to find out more.
WHAT IS CORD BLOOD?
Because cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, it can be used to treat dozens of disorders, including leukaemia, lymphoma and anaemia.
According to Raynish, the process is simpler than parents may think: "Cord banking is the collection of umbilical cord blood stem cells that are in a newborn's umbilical cord when they are born. What's so special about those cord blood stem cells is that they are sort of turbo charged and completely precious because the only time you can collect them is when the baby's born."
Raynish says through their 15 years in business she has seen people use their banked cord blood for a variety of conditions.
Jillian and Daniel Friedlander's daughter Maia was the first New Zealander to see a positive result from the reinfusion of her own cord blood. After a brain injury sustained at birth, Raynish says being able to use Maia's cord blood "really made a difference to her recovery".
Jillian said she never intended to use the stem cells so soon but is grateful she could.
"Thank goodness we had it. She was a child with a severe disability, until you see it videoed and represented in front of you like a mirror, you actually get the reality of what took place.
"I came back with a different girl. It was like two different children. Maia had her umbilical cord blood reinfused into her body."
She says prior to the procedure Maia's eyes appeared "a bit glassy". However after the infusion her eyes turned "crystal clear", in focus, and she was able to form words and finally call Jillian "Mama".
Raynish also recalled a child who was diagnosed with stage four cancer and was able to use her stems cells to regenerate her immune system and recover fully.
"She is alive and well today," says Raynish, describing the experience as "really fantastic".
According to the cord bank website, there are three payment options which equate to a cost of $2900.
The cost is something Raynish believes is cheap compared to material things most parents buy for children only to have them grow out of.
"Where as their cord blood, you know that if you invest in it when they are born, you can actually keep it for their whole life. They won't grow out of it."