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First National Amniotic Fluid Awareness Day Educates Women About the Benefits of Amniotic Fluid Beyond Pregnancy
Date:1/27/2011

BOSTON, Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Most women know that amniotic fluid is the nourishing and protective liquid that surrounds a growing baby, but are unaware of the potential of amniotic fluid beyond pregnancy. Amniotic fluid contains mesenchymal stem cells, which are at the forefront of medical research, and, if collected and stored, these stem cells may help protect the child throughout their lifetime. Biocell Center, leader in amniotic fluid preservation, is proud to participate in Amniotic Fluid Awareness Day to educate expecting parents about banking amniotic fluid and staying on the cutting edge of trends in the rapidly advancing field of regenerative medicine.  

"The technology to preserve amniotic fluid did not exist until relatively recently so, for decades, doctors and labs have discarded what has proven to be one of the richest, natural sources of mesenchymal stem cells," said Kate Torchilin, CEO of Biocell Center. "Amniotic fluid banking is the latest advance in stem cell preservation. Research with these stem cells is leading to significant medical discoveries, and the only way to take advantage is to plan ahead and preserve now."

The stem cells contained in amniotic fluid are multifunctional and can grow into many different organs and tissues. Research shows that these stem cells could potentially be used to repair cartilage in the knee, heal wounds or grow heart valves.  

"Decisions about prenatal testing and stem cell banking can be overwhelming, so it is important for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive to learn about all their options and be empowered to make the right decision for themselves and their family's needs," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, Executive Director of HealthyWomen, the leader in independent health information for women. "We hope that stem cell banking becomes a routine consideration during pregnancy planning and that women become educated early on."

It is easy and safe to collect amniotic fluid throughout the entire pregnancy, as early as the second trimester, because a little bit of it is already routinely collected during some prenatal tests. A small amount – just one to a few teaspoonfuls – of fluid can be then set aside for preservation, without any change to the prenatal test itself.

Amniotic fluid stem cells are a perfect match for a child, meaning that organs and tissues that may be grown from these cells will always be accepted by his or her body. These stem cells may also match immediate family members, so preserving amniotic fluid may provide opportunities for siblings and parents to benefit from future medical advances.

There are 160 medical studies around the world evaluating cells similar to the ones found in amniotic fluid. As just one example, such cells are already used for post-surgery bone healing in spinal surgeries, and researchers predict innovations to continue.  

No one can predict the discoveries yet to be achieved by leading regenerative medicine researchers; however, mothers who bank amniotic fluid will be prepared for future medical advancements. Amniotic Fluid Awareness Day marks the first step toward recognizing the potential of amniotic fluid beyond pregnancy.

For more information about Amniotic Fluid Awareness Day or amniotic fluid banking, please visit http://www.biocellcenter.com or call 1-866-246-2720.

About Amniotic Fluid Stem Cells

During pregnancy, the growing baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, a substance that is similar to water. Amniotic fluid contains fetal cells that are normally shed during growth, and other chemicals and substances. Amniotic fluid can provide important information about a baby's health before birth. Recent studies show that amniotic fluid also contains stem cells, known as mesenchymal stem cells.

Amniotic fluid is one of the richest, natural sources of mesenchymal stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including bone, fat, kidney, brain, muscle and liver, and are actively studied by medical researchers for the regenerative medical applications.  

About Biocell Center

Biocell Center, the leader in amniotic fluid preservation, was founded by internationally renowned doctors and scientists with decades of experience in prenatal testing and stem cells. Biocell Center is part of an international group of companies that offer amniotic fluid cell cryopreservation services worldwide. For years, Biocell Center has been conveniently and safely preserving amniotic fluid for pregnant women in Europe. The company opened its U.S. headquarters in Boston, Mass. in 2009, and is the first private amniotic fluid cell bank in the U.S.  Biocell Center is an active participant in medical collaborations and scientific discussions in the area of amniotic fluid stem cells and their potential use in regenerative medicine.

About HealthyWomen

HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. For more than 20 years, women have been coming to the HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. HW provides health information through a wide array of online content and print publications that are original, objective and reviewed and approved by medical experts. Its website, www.HealthyWomen.org®, was recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the "Top 100 Websites for Women" and was named the top women's health website by Dr. Mehmet Oz in O, The Oprah Magazine and by Good Housekeeping magazine. To learn more, visit www.HealthyWomen.org.


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