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Anja Health was founded by Kathryn Cross after her brother passed away from cerebral palsy, a disease that could have been treated with his own cord blood stem cells if they had been saved at birth. "I think that very much resonates with you on a very personal level. Even in 20 years' time, this has gone from people not even knowing about this technology to being pretty amazing what's going on with cord blood.” says Dr. Matt Guile, an LA-based OB/GYN for Cedars Sinai with years of experience in maternal healthcare, who has also collected for Anja Health.
As our company focuses on simplicity when it comes to collection and shipping, customers and the birth teams both are a priority to us as we want to make the process as smooth as possible for both sides. We ensure the kit that we deliver to you has all the instructions on how to collect and store the cord blood, tissue and placenta and after we pick it up, there’s nothing else you need to worry about. Dr. Guile points out: "That was actually how I found out about you guys - it was my first patient that I collected for with your kit, and I had not done any collections for Anja Health previously, but it was seamless!”.
Cord blood stem cells are FDA-approved as a treatment for 85+ diseases. Clinical trials are examining stem cells from the cord tissue and placenta being used to treat diabetes, cerebral palsy, neurological damage, heart disease, liver disease, wounds, and more. "The advantages of cord blood banking include collecting hemopoietic stem cells for personal use or donation, potentially providing solutions for various medical conditions. Ongoing research focuses on treatments for adult diseases using stem cells." says Dr. David Kim, an LA-based OB/GYN for Cedars Sinai and Anja Health’s medical advisor.
Parents often bring up whether they can do delayed cord clamping and cord blood banking together - as research shows that ~1 minute of delayed cord clamping is enough for the baby to get all the benefits of it, Anja Health gives parents the option to do it for up to 2 minutes and then bank the rest. “Oftentimes, in this day and age, we're trying to balance delayed cord clamping which very much is a standard of care at this point right with maximizing the amount of cord blood that we get. So, it really comes down to to a striking a balance between those two things and with the cord blood collection for storage purposes you just have to be patient and try to get as much as you can.” shares Dr. Matt Guile.
While cord blood banking enables the option for treating so many diseases, many people believe it is still very expensive to do. At Anja Health, our mission is to make cord blood banking affordable and accessible to the general mass, so we provide many payment options, including monthly installments and down-payment options. “I think the only downside [of cord blood banking] would be just it's just a cost issue which, of course, that's what you're addressing” acknowledges Dr. Kim.
To help support parents further, Anja Health has a partnership with Billion To One who help cover the first year of cord blood banking if the baby or mother has some sort of a complication that they’re testing for. “That partnership you have and with Billion To One is very unique and very amazing, I'm very impressed that they've agreed to do that. Their testing is not new but they're very different than some of the other companies and so the testing they provide is different so they're able to do that - I'm not sure that any other other of the companies would even have that application.” comments Dr. Steve Rad, an LA-based OB/GYN for Cedars Sinai, who has extensive experience in high-risk pregnancies.
“So I haven't had any of my personal patients had to you actually use their Cord Blood yet, but of course, we've had a lot of our patients collect their cord blood. There's a lot of research being done on it and we anticipate that it may have a lot of uses in the future. A lot of parents want to do everything that they can for their children and so if they really want to do everything then this is something they should they should consider.” shares Dr. Steve Rad, as we’re looking into the importance of doing cord blood banking.
Here’s what other providers have had to say:
“I think much like any sort of insurance policy I think that down the road there's a lot of potential for what stem cells can provide. My son is actually a type 1 diabetic and there's a ton of research in that field right now, in the diabetes community, that all has to do with stem cells and the potential to have a cure for it. My son has the potential for a long life given medical advancements just over the last few years by comparison to people that were diagnosed 40 years ago who were told they wouldn't live past the age of 40. So even from my perspective or like anybody with autoimmune disorders, or anybody with with blood cancers - there's so much potential for stem cells.” - an LA-based Midwife Abigail Vidikan for Heart to Home Midwifery.
“I think it's amazing I think it can be life-saving I think it's going to change the world with some of the studies that are done” - Michelle Curtis, an experienced labor and delivery nurse at Cedars Sinai.
“I have a background in transfusion medicine I have a background in immunology and clinical chemistry so I do understand there's many pros [to cord blood banking] and how the cells in the core can be supportive of either the child or a relative.” - NYC-Based Doula & Midwife Annalee Reid