Just like any other pregnant mom, I have watched numerous of commercials, received loads of pamphlets and have spoken to so many sales representatives from cord blood banking companies.
Here is what I understood about cord blood banking from all of it : Simply put, I would have to pay a fee to have a company store the blood from my child’s umbilical cord to be used in case my child or a sibling develops a life threatening disease. The cord blood could potentially cure the disease and save my child. What I found out, is that this information is partially true.
Public Banking: This is absolutely free, and in simple terms can be called a donation. In this case you simply donate your child’s cord so that it could be used in future to save a life.
Private Banking: This storage does not come cheaply. With India reporting 25 million or more child births a year, Cord Blood Banking is viewed by the industry as a cash cow. In this case you give the task of storing your child’s cord blood to a bank, who stores it for only your families use.
This was something my husband and I were interested in, hence we took time to dig a little deeper and learn more about it. I could not believe when I found out that if one would bank a child’s Cord blood and at the age of 4 if he developed something like leukemia, he would not be able to use his own Cord blood. Cord blood is not for the donater since the stem cells would genetically carry the same disease. His potential siblings would possibly be able to use it, though with only a 25% chance of a match, that is. If something should happen to any baby, the best option would be to go to a public bank where we would have a 75% chance of finding a match. Much higher odds than with a sibling’s Cord Blood.
This made me ponder over the fact that, why do people spend so much money for private banking when the chances that they will be able to use it at all is so slim? Why not instead donate the blood for free and let your healthy Cord Blood save another life?
There are probably two reasons for most new parents opting for Private cord blood banking:
1# There might be a possibility that your family has a history of disease that could be treated with Cord blood.
2# You may have chosen to opt for Cord blood banking in hopes that research will eventually lead us to more options and that the blood could have greater use for the child as an adult.
What we learnt was that its so important to read before making decisions and assumptions. As expecting parents we usually get sucked into concepts that will make our baby safer, healthier, smarter. Not to say that many of them don’t, but we should all be making sure that the information being provided to us is the full picture, not just the part that makes us feel extremely guilty.
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