Till now, menstrual blood has typically been discarded as unsanitary waste. However, exciting new research shows that menstrual fluid contains self-renewing stem cells that can be easily collected, processed and cryo-preserved for potential promising cellular therapies that may surface in the future.

Menstrual stem cell comes from the uterine lining (endometrium) that is shed as part of a woman's menstrual period. Menstruation serves an important purpose, clearing the uterus out monthly in order to prepare the womb for a potential pregnancy. It has rich source of live saving stem cells. Study has proved that menstrual blood has stem cells that are similar to embryonic stem cells.

The study was based on the fact that every month the endometrium sheds and new one is formed, this is basically should be because of the presence of stem cells that has the ability to renew, if there is a presence of stem cells and what kind of stem cells they are?


Stem cells come from two main sources: embryos or adult tissues. Embryonic stem cells can give rise to almost any cell type in the body, but they are controversial because conventional procedures for obtaining them include the destruction of an embryo. Adult stem cells, such as those found in bone marrow, do not create the same ethical concerns, but they have limited powers and collecting them can require persistent and painful procedures.

Menstrual stem cells can turn out to be a happy medium between embryonic and adult stem cells, providing an ethically acceptable alternative that is readily available and appears to give rise to most of the major tissue types in the body.

These menstrual stem cells are unique because they have many properties and characteristics similar to both bone marrow and embryonic stem cells; they multiply rapidly and can differentiate into many other types of stem cells such as neural, cardiac, bone, fat, cartilage and possibly others; which a great promise many medical therapies. Cord blood and menstrual blood contain stem cells that have the capability to morph into various kinds of other cells. Because they're "immunologically immature," in a transplant they're able to contribute to cell survival.

Study has showed that in addition to potential use by the donor, these stem cells may possibly be used as well to benefit other family members who are genetically related to the donor, such as perhaps a parent, sibling or child.

The main advantage of using the menstrual blood is easily and painlessly collectable for a long time more than 35 years and they could be used to treat patients without the fear of tissue rejection, as they from their own body. Unlike with the use of embryonic stem cells. Later these can be processed to harvest stem cells, and be introduced to the woman's body if they are diagnosed with diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and heart ailments, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, acute lung injury and renal failure.

Studies have shown that stem cells found in menstrual blood -- along with cells from babies' umbilical cords -- could potentially be incorporated into treatments for stroke, Alzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Stem cells harvested from menstrual blood have also successfully differentiated into nerve cells in a laboratory culture. It has benefit over the usage of adult stem cells, because it is difficult to get some types of adult stem cells to give rise to enough cells to be any medical value. Menstrual bloods expand rapidly and maintained greater than 50 percent of their telomerase activity. In the traditional way of bone morrow transplant it is harder to find a donor matching the patients type which is not in the case of menstrual bold as they are easy to retrieve and is readily available whenever it is needed. Hence It Can be a life-saving alternative to bone marrow transplants.

Cryo-preservation of menstrual stem cells may have the potential to provide women with a broad range of personalized regenerative medicine therapies as well as prospective cosmeceutical applications, such as anti-aging treatments.

Menstruation has so far been associated with pain and stress. However, with the possibility of harvesting stem cells from menstrual blood, women are going to be luckier than men. The monthly cycle can be little less annoying over the thought that it can save lives.


Cry-Cell is a leading company in the US engaged in menstrual blood storage. The cost of collection and shipping of menstrual for menstrual blood storage is only USD 499. While umbilical cord blood is collected at the time of delivery in a hospital, for menstrual blood collection and storage, the company provides a medical grade silicone cup. This is inserted into the vagina on the day when her menstrual flow is the heaviest. In about three hours' time it is possible to collect between 10 to 20 milliliters of menstrual blood. The blood is poured into a collection kit that Cryo-Cell provides and it is sent to the laboratory for processing and storage. It is the only menstrual blood bank of its kind and storage costs $ 99 a year.

"We are the only one that stores it currently with the hope of being able to use it in the future," says Allickson, the director of R&D who said she couldn't disclose how many women have banked their menstrual blood.

Is banking menstrual blood the next big thing? In its favor, neither menstrual blood nor cord blood stem cells are controversial in the way that embryonic stem cells are. No woman I know is too attached to the contents of her unpregnant uterus.

About Author / Additional Info: