Dr Farzana Araie banked stem cells as an 'insurance policy' for her children's future health


Dr Farzana Araie's daughter was born in 2019 and her son in 2022. Farzana decided to bank stem cells at the birth of both her babies as an 'insurance policy' into their future health. She explains this decision and how the process worked.

Dr Farzana Araie explains: "I'm a medical doctor and both my husband and I keep up to date with new developments in technology. We've been following the research into stem cells and their applications. We believe it is worth banking stem cells when your children are born, if you have the means, as you never know if you're going to need those stem cells in the future. One doesn't get many opportunities to access those amazing cells."

Farzana stored her babies' stem cells through Netcells, NEXT BIOSCIENCES' stem cell banking service. Through Netcells expectant parents have the opportunity to collect both their newborn baby's umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells at birth, and bank them for potential future medical use.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the original building blocks of life - they are the first cells that form. While stem cells are found in the adult body - and continually maintain and repair tissues - collecting them is difficult and invasive, and they are largely restricted to forming the tissue they are found in.

One of the easiest, pain free and safest ways to retrieve stem cells is through the umbilical cord tissue and the cord blood. These contain large numbers of new stem cells that can potentially differentiate into any of the 200-odd types of cells that make up the human body. As the umbilical cord and placenta are normally discarded as medical waste, collecting umbilical cord blood and tissue at birth is a process free of moral and ethical concerns.

Stem cells can be used to help in the treatment of over 80 blood or immune disorders and can be used to regenerate bone marrow. They are routinely used to treat diseases such as Fanconi's anaemia, leukaemia, lymphoma, thalassemia, and sickle cell anaemia. New therapies using stem cells are currently in research and clinical trial phase.

Stem cells represent a perfect donor match for the baby they've been collected from and pose no risk of rejection when transplanted. If the baby has a genetic disease, the stem cells will also have the same genetic disease and, therefore, cannot be used in these instances. There is also a 25% possibility that the stem cells will be a suitable match for a sibling.

"If our children need stem cells, we have them"

Farzana's daughter was born in 2019 and her son in 2022, both by emergency C-section.

"My daughter arrived a month early, so we hadn't received our Netcells collection kit yet. My husband had to go collect the kit himself and the whole process didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped it would."

"Despite this, we wanted to do stem cell banking again when our son was born in case he needs these cells in the future. I landed up having an unscheduled emergency C-section again, but getting the kit and the stem cell banking process itself went a lot more smoothly because we knew better what to do that time around."

"Now we know that if our children need those stem cells at some point, we have them, and we won't need to rely on foreign tissue."

Discovery Health makes banking baby's stem cells more affordable

Like Farzana, members of selected schemes administered by Discovery Health can get up to 20% off the stem cell processing fee when they register to store their baby's stem cells with Netcells. The discount applies to the Netcells Processing Fee and the amount depends on the payment plan you choose:

  • 20% discount on upfront payment upon registration
  • 15% discount on payment on stem cells being successfully banked
  • 10% discount on payment on a payment plan

Netcells offers flexible storage options and interest-free payment plans allowing you to tailor-make a plan to suit your needs. The expenses related to stem cell banking will not be covered by your scheme. The cash discount that is offered is passed directly on to you and is not paid from your health plan benefits.

Learn more about the exclusive Discovery Health stem cell banking offer here.

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