The Olympic ski champion, 34, who gave birth to her and her husband Dougie Crawford’s first child, Locki, on 13 January, explained they’d decided to store the cells found in their son’s umbilical cord blood, incase he needed hospital treatment in the future.
“It’s an insurance policy you don’t ever want to use,” Alcott told Hello magazine. “Thinking about how Dougie and I are adrenaline junkies, the likelihood that he’s one too is quite high.”
“I did some research into it a while ago... I had to see a plastic surgeon who talked about how stem cells can be used to help the skin heal,” Alcott explained.
“So, I had quite a personal experience of it, knowing it might have been used to help me.”
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born.
It is rich in stem cells and, as the NHS states: “Following the birth of a baby, the placenta and umbilical cord are usually thrown away along with these life saving stem cells.”
According to the NHS, cord blood transplants have been shown to cure patients with a variety of serious conditions including leukaemia, bone marrow failure, sickle cell anaemia and immunodeficiencies.
New parents choose to store these cells after birth through a private company, paying fees of up to nearly £2,000, so doctors can use it to treat their child in the future should the need arrive.
Alternatively, the NHS has a cord blood bank, which allows new parents to donate their cord blood to be used in life-saving treatments.
If, at a later date, families need the stem cells they have donated, they can get them back, if they haven’t already been used by others.
For more information, visit the NHS Cord Blood Bank website.