When you’ve been in your career field for a long time, it is rare to come across information that you’ve never heard of before. That’s what happened when I ran across a brochure titled, “Your Monthly Miracle: Storing Menstrual Stem Cells.” Seriously?
This news surprised me three times over. #1) It never occurred to me that menstrual blood has stem cells in it. #2) I didn’t know that stem cell research was already happening with menstrual blood. #3) I never knew that there are companies out there that are already storing it (and in my own county, no less!)
CryoCell International’s brochure reads,
“Menstrual blood contains unique stem cells that express multipotent markers of both adult and embryonic stem cells. These menstrual cells multiply quickly and can differentiate into other types of healthy cells including heart, nerve, bone, cartilage, and fat. This is the first time researchers have found an adult stem cell that is recurring and readily accessible. Menstrual stem cells can be easily harvested in an affordable, painless and non-invasive manner, and have vast potential in regenerative medicine.”
Wow. I had no idea. I was so incredulous that I emailed our Medical Director to see if this could really be true. Yes, she confirmed, and added that much more research will need to be done before these cells can be used in humans. So far, the studies on mice and rats have focused on diabetes, heart disease, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and ischemic wounds. It’s still early, but the results of these studies are promising.
If you want to store your menstrual blood, expect to pay about $4,000 for 25 years’ worth of storage. Collection is easy, much like the Diva Cup that our own E.G. Hanna has discussed. I called the company to ask a few questions and was delighted to get a personable and knowledgeable representative on the line. One of my questions resulted in an answer that deserves its very own blog post – more on that next time. Let’s just say that I’ve searched for that answer for years so I’m pumped to finally have an answer … and that the answer is exactly what I wanted to hear. I mean, how often does that happen?
Imagine the possibilities! Now, Feronia friends: would you ever consider banking your menstrual blood?