Skip to Content

Personalized Stem Cells from Menstrual Blood

C’elle promises to “preserve ‘Your Monthly Miracle.’”
November 13, 2007

Thanks to the surge in interest in stem cells and the potential power of regenerative medicine, a growing number of companies are offering to isolate and store stem cells from various sources: babies’ placentas, adult blood, and even extra embryos generated for in vitro fertilization. The latest option comes from Cryo-Cell International, a Florida-based cord-blood bank. Brilliantly christened C’elle, the company is now offering women the chance to store their own menstrual stem cells. The service costs $499 for processing and the first year’s storage, with a subsequent annual storage fee of $99 per year.

According to Cryo-Cell’s website, the cells present

a potential source for promising regenerative therapies to treat heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders like spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, in addition to cosmeceutical applications such as anti-aging therapies, to name a few …

The Company believes that the C’elle service offers women no matter what their age, with the unique opportunity to preserve “Your Monthly Miracle” while they are in good health and have access to this distinctive source of stem cells …

Upon ordering, you’ll receive an attractive, discreet C’elle collection kit by FedEx delivery. Inside, you’ll find everything needed for you to collect and send your C’elle menstrual stem cells for processing and preservation, including a menstrual cup, collection tubes, prepaid FedEx airbill for return shipment to Cryo-Cell, and comprehensive instructions for use.

The biggest issue with many of these services is that there are very few, if any, current therapeutic uses. The companies are banking on promises of future therapies that may never pan out, or may not actually require the cells that the client has been faithfully paying to store.

The menstrual stem cells, derived from the uterine lining shed during a woman’s monthly period, are a relatively new discovery. In the lab, they can differentiate into neural, cardiac, bone, cartilage, and fat cells, and they’re being tested in animal models for various medical applications. And while menstrual stem cells present a noninvasive potential source of stem cells, they have only been under study for a short time, making their future utility even more uncertain.

An article from the BBC news highlights criticism of the new service.

Professor Peter Braude, professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, from London’s King’s College and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, said: “This is all hypothesis and hype. This is such a long way off. I can see no reason why you would need to collect your own menstrual fluid.

“The thing that worries me most is that it is capitalising on people’s insecurity.”

Mercedes Walton, chairman and CEO of Cryo-Cell, said: “It’s not preying upon a fear. Stem cell science is real.

“It’s building upon our knowledge, the proven history of stem cells and upon the hope of the advancements that will come with regenerative science.”

Rebecca Rutter, operations manager for UK-based private cord blood storage facility Cells4Life, questioned how practical the service was as a source for stem cells.

“Stem cells have been identified in menstrual blood. But it is too early to tell if they are going to be therapeutically viable.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.