That is currently our big question. All along we thought that the decision to privately bank the blood from our newborns’ umbilical cord was a no brainer. But now we aren't sure if this is something we should be investing in. We have done some research and have come up with the following list of pros and cons:
1. "Just in Case" - Storing stem cells would provide a type of biological insurance, in case our baby or another family member needed a stem-cell transplant or related therapy in the future. Scientists think stem cells may hold the key to treatments and even cures for Par.kinson's, dia,betes and a range of other diseases. And stem-cell transplants are already used to treat some can.cers, and immune, and blood disorders. Wouldn't we want our babies to have their own ready supply of perfectly matched stem cells, just in case? Of course. What parent wouldn't?
1. Expensive - blood collection fees typically range between $1,500 and $2,500, and storage fees run between $100 and $200 per year. And since this is per child, our initial fees and first year costs for the twins would be close to $5,000. Of course, we'd spend any amount of money to protect our children, but is private banking of cord blood really warranted considering the next few Cons ...?
2. No conclusive proof - much of the stem cell promise is still more theoretical than practical. Research has found only a few cases where cord-blood banked "just in case" had actually been used. This is in contrast to the main marketing message of private banks, which promote the idea of children using cells from their own cord blood. Doctors, in fact, won't even use a child's own stem cells for some illnesses, as this could reintroduce the illness into the child's body.
3. Other sources - stem cells can come from other sources, including bone marrow, public cord blood banks and someday possibly even adult cells.
4. Recommendations from the Am.erican Academy of Ped.iatrics and the Am.erican Med.ical Association - both organizations advise against private cord blood banking for most families, as the likelihood of children needing their own banked blood is low. The range of available estimates is from 1:1,000 to 1:200,000. Empirical evidence that children will need their own cord blood for future use is lacking. The exception is when there is a family member who has a current or potential need to undergo a stem-cell transplant. We have a family member with MS, but there is no available research on the benefits of umbilical stem cell transplantation for individuals with MS.
We'd really like to get some of your thoughts/opinions on this topic. Even though our Cons list is much longer than our Pros list, there is still that question of "what if?" that we can't get past. We are hoping someone will say something that will help us with our final decision.
If we do not store our newborn's stem cells for our own use we will most certainly donate it to a public cord-blood bank. Donating to these banks is typically free and the benefits to someone in need can be immeasurable. You can contact the National Marr.ow Do.nor Program at www dot marrow dot org for a list of sites. We wanted to donate to a cord-blood bank specifically dedicated to MS research but as of now we haven't found any sites that are looking for cord blood specifically for MS research.
3 years ago