Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 22: Cord Blood Banking

At first, Jeff was really gung-ho about keeping baby Jemily's cord blood - their marketing is pretty effective! These banks will tell you that storing your baby's cord blood will preserve precious stem cells that could potentially save your child from various illnesses and afflictions in the future. But after doing some research, I'm not sure I really believe in what they're selling. Here's a few things I learned:
  • This WSJ article revealed that many of these banks don't properly store the blood. Some of these facilities were in unsanitary conditions with dirt and dead insects!
  • Chances are, a person wouldn't be able to use their own cord blood because if they have a genetic condition that makes them predisposed to a certain illness, their own stem cells wouldn't be able to cure them because those stem cells would have the same genetic predisposition for that illness. So it could work for a sibling or other type of close relative, assuming he/she is a match.
  • There's no guarantee for how long the cord blood can last, even though cord blood banks will offer storage options for decades and lifetimes.
  • Many samples don't contain enough stem cells for treatment.
  • The cost is anywhere from $4,000 - $11,000.
  • According to my OB, approximately 10% of her patients bank the cord blood.
On the other hand, I wanted to donate baby Jemily's cord blood because there's a chance he could be a match for someone else in need right now. Unfortunately, it's a pretty cumbersome process to donate. You have to start the process a long time in advance and there is a lot of screening to make sure the cord blood is eligible for donation. Part of me feels like if I am going to go through all that trouble, I might as well keep it for Jemily himself! *sigh*...

Cinque Terre, Italy, June 2011

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