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Cord Blood Stem Cells

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By 16 days post-ovulation, different layers of the body are forming. The endoderm forms the lining of lungs, tongue, tonsils, urethra and associated glands, bladder and digestive tract. The mesoderm forms the muscles, bones, lymphatic tissue, spleen, blood system stem cells, heart, lungs, and reproductive and excretory systems. The ectoderm forms the skin, nails, hair, lens of eye, lining of the internal and external ear, nose, sinuses, mouth, anus, tooth enamel, pituitary gland, mammary glands, and all parts of the nervous system.

At 17 to 19 days post-ovulation, the embryonic area is now shaped like a pear, and the head region is broader than the tail end. Your little one looks like a tadpole! The ectoderm has thickened to form the neural plate. The edges of this plate rise and form a concave area known as the neural groove. This groove is the precursor of the embryo's nervous system and it is one of the first organs to develop. The stem cells of the embryo are already developed and they are beginning to form channels along the epithelial cells, which form consecutively with the blood cells. The embryo is 1.0 = 1.5 mm in length, that's about the size of a head on a straight pin. Just think how amazing this is that your baby can be so very small and all this development is taking place at a lightening pace!

In only two short days your baby's heart has begun forming and those stem cells are still hard at work. Secondary blood vessels now appear in the placenta. Stem cells appear on the yolk sac simultaneously with endothelial cells that will form blood vessels for the newly emerging blood cells.

Now you may be thinking, "Why am I reading about stem cells over and over again?" The reason why is simple. All expectant parents need to understand the importance of stem cells and what they do exactly. For starters, stem cells are primarily used in transplant medicine to regenerate a patient's blood and immune system after they have been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation to destroy the cancer cells. At the same time the chemotherapy and radiation destroys the cancer cells in a patient, they also destroy the life building stem cells. Therefore a transplantation of stem cells is performed after the chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment, and these stem cells migrate to the patient's bone marrow where they will reproduce, creating a new blood and immune system for the patient.

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