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What is HLA Typing?

What is HLA Typing? For many parents, deciding to bank your child’s newborn stem cells can be quite confusing. One of the subjects that you will encounter along your search is HLA Typing. So what is HLA? HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) are the proteins located in our immune system; more specifically, they are located on […]

What is HLA Typing?

For many parents, deciding to bank your child’s newborn stem cells can be quite confusing. One of the subjects that you will encounter along your search is HLA Typing.

So what is HLA? HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) are the proteins located in our immune system; more specifically, they are located on the surface of white blood cells and other tissues in the body. HLA proteins are classified by three general subgroups (HLA-A, HLA-B, and HLA-DR) with many different protein types within each subgroup.

Your baby will inherit half of their HLA set, known as a haplotype, from Mom and Dad. A total of 6 HLA proteins are inherited (3 from each parent).

What is HLA and what should I know about it?

For a cord blood stem cell transplant, a treatment facility will look at these 6 protein markers to determine if the stem cell sample would be a suitable match. Four or more of the six markers are needed to have a match (67% match), whereas bone marrow transplants require all six markers to match. This is one of the reasons cord blood stem cells are more desirable for transplant over bone marrow stem cells.

If a child were to use their own stem cells, it would be a perfect HLA match. If stem cells were needed to treat a sibling, the treatment facility would look at the HLA Typing for each child to determine if there is a close enough match. For siblings, there is a 25% chance for a perfect match, 50% chance of a haplotype match, and a 25% chance of not matching.

Once the HLA of each sibling is determined, the treatment facility will perform a crossmatch test. The crossmatch testing will determine if the recipient has antibody to the donor’s stem cells which could harm the stem cells upon transplantation. It is important to note that not everyone has antibody against HLA.

It is important to note that HLA Typing is not required upon enrollment and is only needed when the stem cells are being used for treatment. Should you need to use your child’s stem cells for treatment, we will release a segment of the sample to the treatment facility for a full panel of testing; including HLA Typing. In fact, many of the treatment facilities who we work with provide the testing services at no cost to our clients.

At AlphaCord, we do our best to inform our clients with any and all information about private newborn stem cell banking. We believe an educated parent will not only see the importance of banking their baby’s cord blood and cord tissue, but ultimately choose AlphaCord to assist in this once in a life time opportunity.

Feel free to speak with a Client Services Specialist to answer any additional questions about HLA Typing or private newborn stem cell banking. 404.315.6500


THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.  It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.

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