Many couples already anticipate the expenses that come along with expecting a baby. But aside from the usual baby gear and clothes, some parents even go the extra mile of investing in umbilical cord blood banking. With aggressive advertising methods, this innovative method of preserving a baby’s cord blood has taken the world by storm. From highly industrialized nations to struggling cities, you can see ads about cord blood banking everywhere.
Since private cord blood banking comes with a hefty price, it is important to make an informed choice. With initial processing fees ranging from $1000 to $2000, and annual banking fees of around $100 dollars, the cost is really something that many parents eventually base their decision on. But is it really a wise decision to invest in umbilical cord blood banking? Is it really worth every penny?
The principle behind this life saving process is to take out the blood from the baby’s umbilical cord right after birth. Blood from the cord is actually full of hematopoietic progenitor cells or HPCs. This type of stem cell has the capacity to develop into other types of human cells. This is the very reason why children who are diagnosed with leukemia, aplastic anemia, sickle cell anemia, lymphoma, and other autoimmune disorders are injected with HPCs because it can replenish the body with new cells.
While this may sound really promising, studies also show that stem cells from a donor may be more effective in fighting some types of cancers. This means that it may be more beneficial for a child to receive stem cells from another person. And if you decide to store your baby’s stem cells for another member of the family, there is also a chance of rejection. To add to that, the amount of stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord is also not enough for the treatment of an adult member of the family.
There are also reports that indicate that the likelihood of a child using stored stem cell is rather slim. This is due to the fact that the diseases that can be treated with stem cells are not very common. Cord blood stem cells are also not used to treat genetic disorders because it may possess the same genetic make up that caused the disease. And research as to how long these stem cells last is still ongoing. But the National Marrow Donor Program claims that cord blood stem cells may only last for 10 years.
Despite these setbacks, there is still a lot to look forward to as far as the study of stem cells is concerned. Whether it’s from a baby’s umbilical cord or from an adult tissue, modern medicine has opened new doors in treating various diseases. But if you think that this is just too much for your budget, the best recourse may be to evaluate what’s left of your options.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging parents to donate their baby’s cord blood at public cord blood banks. This will make your baby’s cord blood available to other kids who may need it for a transplant. And it does not come with any cost. The initial processing fee and the subsequent dues are all shouldered by public cord blood banks. In short, this will give you an opportunity to help other children who are facing great odds.
In order to make a sound decision, it’s also best to discuss the pros and cons with your trusted health care provider. Knowing your family’s medical history, he may give you the best advice from a medical practitioner’s point of view. It’s also good to remember that in terms of your baby’s health, it is your decision that will still be followed.