What is cord blood ?
Umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood is collected because it contains stem, which can be used to treat the hematopoietic and genetic disorder.
These days almost every expecting parent has or will come across the term Cord Blood Banking which in a simple word means preserving the cord blood from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord. There are more than 20 private cord blood banks operating in the United States with the business expanding its feathers every year. The representatives of these cord blood banks most certainly convince the expectant parents over the numerous benefits of saving the cord blood for a baby and how it might just be the best gift for their newborn, whereas this life-saving insurance comes with a hefty price tag.
The most important aspect of the umbilical cord blood banking is the fee that one has to pay (about $ 1,000 to $ 3,000) initially and plus annual storage costs of about $ 90 to $ 175.
So if you are the one who likes to put the money ‘only where it pays’, you should think twice if it is going to secure your child’s future :
- Well, most researchers conclude that the chances of your child using the blood are very rare. This is because; first the diseases that require stem cells from the blood (HPC cells) include- leukemia, sickle cell anemia, lymphoma and other types of cancers are not as common. Most of these cases if require stem cells, the umbilical cord doesn’t alone serve as the only source of these cells. Most of these cells can be derived from donated bone marrows from the bone marrow banks.
- Secondly, certain genetic diseases such Osteopetrosis (the bone disease that makes bones abnormally dense), Hurler-Scheie syndrome (skeletal deformities), Agammaglobulinemia (inherited disorder causing immune deficiency), etc, which might require stem cells, will usually not respond to the individual’s own blood cells which will again have the same genes. Cells derived from another individual with immunity towards the condition will usually respond better.
- The odds of the child using his own blood cells are very thin, argue experts. An editorial in the 2005 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology predict this chance as 1 in 2700.
So who should opt for cord blood banking?
- Cord blood banking may not seem to be a necessary option for everyone. Those couples who already have certain diseases running in the family which require stem cell transplants may consider it. If a close relative has had leukemia, sickle cell anemia, the umbilical cord blood may help your child or even any other member in the family.
- Parents of the baby who already have a sibling with a disease requiring HPCS also may consider it. HPCS is Health Psychology and Clinical Science which requires full time commitment. HPCS practitioners have strong expertise in clinical science.
Given the fact that storing the cells with private cord blood banks is an expensive insurance and thus experts recommend that public cord blood banks and bone marrow banks might be more economical and cost-effective treatment options even for such cases. When you choose public cord blood banks, the cost of the stem cells therapy is covered under insurance and also becomes available towards any individual who might be in need of it.
Written by: Dr. C Motwani
Edited by: S. Jha