Improving Health and Extending Life Span Through Pregnancy
Embryonic stem cells have the ability to replace cells in damaged or destroyed tissue in the body repairing nerve damage, blindness and more. Stem cell therapy is not yet common, but recent studies suggest nature already provides mothers with embryonic stem cells. During pregnancy, cells from each fetus migrate into the mother and are often retained beyond pregnancy. These stem cells target sites of injury helping mothers recover from heart and other organ damage. Regulation of the timing, duration, and number of pregnancies can ensure mothers have a diverse repository of fetal stem cells to improve health and extend life span.
Doctors have observed that pregnant women recover from organ damage better than any other group. In pregnant women, fetal stem cells target damaged organs, differentiate into needed cell types to repair tissue and restore organ function. Since these fetal cells persist in maternal blood, bone marrow, skin, liver, lungs, and brain decades after pregnancy, the benefit of fetal stem cells is observable in the greater lifespan of mothers relative to other groups.
Life span of mothers increases linearly up to 14 children and increases with age of mother at last birth. The recency and diversity of fetal stem cells with each pregnancy could be the key to reducing age related organ degradation, extending healthy life span.
Interestingly, the rate and amount of fetal stem cell retention post pregnancy is greatest in spontaneous and induced abortions. Since the transfer of fetal stem cells occurs in most pregnancies by 50 days post conception, even patients nearing menopause may be able to maximize fetal stem cell populations with multiple pregnancies.
Although not recommended, inbreeding produces fetal stem cells similar to maternal genotype minimizing rejection of fetal cells. Conversely, breeding with unrelated men increases genetic diversity of fetal cells improving acceptance of organ transplants bearing antigens shared by fetal cells.
Although fetal cell transfer to fathers does not occur in nature, advances in hormone therapy and ectopic pregnancy may one day provide men with the same health benefits mothers enjoy.