by SP Turgon
The world of medicine never stops. Year by year new techniques, standards, discoveries, methodologies, and pharmaceuticals make the headlines. Frequently, they create as many questions as they introduce new answers. The Best Ever Baby Expert Team offers you this short intro to umbilical cord blood banking to help you decide if it’s right for your family.
We stand at the convergence of science and emotions when we talk about umbilical cord blood and tissue banking.
The central character in all of this is stem cells.
Stem cells can adapt and develop into nearly any cell in the body, making them an invaluable treatment for a whole list of medical diseases, chief among them being cancer(s).
But how did we get here?
Stem cells are found in different body tissues and have been used since the first stem cell transplant in the 1950s. It used bone marrow stem cells from one identical twin to treat leukemia in the other. In 1968 the first non-twin transplant was successful, and in 1979 we saw the first successful transplant of stem cells from a stranger. The first umbilical cord blood (UCB) stem cells were transplanted in 1989 and gave rise to cord blood banking, which is at the heart of the current controversy.
Since 1989 umbilical cord blood banks developed the facilities to store and preserve the stem cells that can potentially save lives and suffering. Now, almost 30 years later, cord blood banking is well-known and used. Many companies exist to cryopreserve the cells for a family’s use, should a biologically-related family member need them. Some of them are better than others. Finding a reputable, reliable cord blood banking organization is a must for those who choose to bank their baby’s blood.
Here’s the controversy: as valuable as cord blood banks are, is private storage worth the expense?
There’s a significant initial fee and a continuing annual fee for storage. Is it right for your family? Parents can add this confusing and often complex question to the litany of decisions they need to make before their baby is born.
This book is to help you make that decision. There are private banks just for the family, and there is the option of donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank. Two very different choices with very different demands. Here you’ll find answers to the many questions parents have about the value of umbilical cord blood banking.
Cord blood banking opens up a wide-ranging conversation that is emotional, psychological, financial, and social.
- Emotional because there can be a gut reaction to the whole idea. Though we know that obtaining the blood is painless and easy—and that it doesn’t take anything from either mom or baby—some have spiritual or religious concerns. As well, the choice whether to bank privately for your family’s benefit inherently means the commonwealth—the society—isn’t uplifted. This dilemma can create emotional conflicts that each parent needs to resolve.
- Psychological because it’s such a personal decision that’s based in your ethics, morals, or religion—or those of influential people in your world. The financial investment could help parents feel they’re taking the best care of their family with this choice. Or, it could add stress to a budget that can’t easily accommodate another expense added to all the requirements a new baby brings to the household.
- Social because the decision whether to bank privately or publicly matters to the social wellbeing. Like any donation, it’s only good to do when you feel it’s not hurting you or your family. Being altruistic and donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank is wonderful if you do it with a clear conscience. The opposite is also true: banking privately is right if it’s within budget and matches your family’s needs.
Information is power and blood is a fundamental source of life.
With accurate information and resources, we hope you will have greater understanding of the cord blood banking process. And we believe it will help you make the best choice for your family’s emotional, psychological, and social lives. We hope this decision as a parent is one of your most informed.
The Best Ever Baby Expert Team strives to give parents researched, up-to-date, and evidence-based information. Our mission is to inform parents so they can raise healthy families and build a better world for all.
Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy, a fulfilling birth, and a life filled with choices based on accurate info,
The Best Ever Baby Expert Team