Welcoming a baby is an important phase of one’s life. It is a paramount transition of life itself. Along with the baby comes responsibility, and commitments to health and nurturing. Like every expectant parent does, preparing for the baby is crucial, and it avoids any last minute confusion that may disrupt the whole process. Parents go to the extent of childproofing cabinets, purchasing infant fabrics and doing it all just for the concerns of baby’s safety. Now, drawing concerns towards infant’s health, many parents these days have shown curiosity towards the medical buzz – the Cord Blood Banking. The term itself wasn’t trending until the very recent times.
All About Cord Blood Banking You Need To Know
So, what is cord blood banking? What are the costs? And above else, what are the cord blood banking pros and cons? If you have been asking the same, we will tell you just what you need to know. The genesis of the notion comes from the fact that the baby’s umbilical cord has young stem cells that are life-saving elements that are known to save your infant’s future if he or she were to suffer from certain life-threatening ailments.
OK, so the people heard that information and the masses are opting for the process to stash their little one’s umbilical cord with an expectation that someday those stem cells may come to the rescue. You will know after reading this article if those notions were true or not. So, you will be in a better position to judge if you must opt for such a process. So here is what umbilical cord banking means in layman terms because much about it remains obscured. At the time of conception, the blood in the umbilical cord is extracted to be preserved. So what does this translate into to help your infant? The blood that is being referred is a rich source of stem cells. Since stem cells contribute to the growth of tissues, they believe if the child is suffering from a potentially life-threatening disease, the cells can help rebuild the damaged tissues. Now, that being said the chances of the child benefiting from his/her stem cells are slim. Not every child will need the stem cells in their lifetime, and the second reason is that the preservation must be flawless for prolonged stability. Also, not to mention the sky-high costs of preserving the cord blood. More than a guarantee, the blood rich in stem cells are seen as insurance against ailments such as heart failure, spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many more to list.
At a time of conducting the procedure, the blood is extracted and preserved in a private blood bank for an annual maintenance fee. Some public banks also allow the preservation. It is parent’s discretion depending on their ability to spend for the expense. Despite the buzz about this trend being fairly new and ringing everywhere, there are handful takers as there is a deficiency of trust in such a concept by many parents. Defeated by concerns and uncertainties, many are pushed to scour the Internet for answers. Do note that banking stem cells are not cheap even in the perspective of public banks. So, many parents are unsure if they would rather be wasting money, or if there is a positive solution. “The American Academy and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” disapprove of such a possibility stating it is just a gimmick and not close to a truer solution. They believe that the present medical advancements are to gain more mileage to derive a stable solution with use of stem cells for treatment of complicated medical conditions. And any effort to banking stem cells hoping a cure is too premature at the present state.
Many doctors who are approached by the parents clarify that it is unnecessary at the moment as their assured benefits are out of reach taking into account the present scenario. However, they do not strongly object and leave the decision to the parents, quoting there is no restriction if they are willing to pay for such an expensive process of preservation.
Cord Blood Banking Pros and Cons
- Stem cells are immature cells that have a rich potential to reproduce, multiply and transform into any cell in the body. Hence, they are seen as a hope of treatment among patients suffering from degenerative diseases .There is a variety of stem cells. Stem cells in the umbilical cord and the bone marrow are called as Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells (HPC).
- HPC is injected in children and is believed to treat lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and many other diseases. When the children are injected with HPC, it works by enriching the blood supply with fresh self-generating cells. If the child is suffering from cancer, the discomfort from radiation and chemotherapy is healed with the HPC injection.
- Although, its effectiveness is yet to be established, cord blood is regarded as hope or a possible cure for many sufferers.
- The reports from the Institute of Medicine indicate they were successful in saving up to 20,000 American lives using HPC injections. However, some precise revelations point out most cases were of bone marrow transplant and not the cord blood extracts. Up to 6000 medical cases were treated using the HPC injection.
- Many private banks have some form of limitations. Suppose your little one is sick, it may not yet be classified as the right means to treat him or her.
- If the nature of the disease is genetic, then the cord blood will be ineffective because the cord blood will bear the same genetic defect, and there is no use of preserving the same.
- Using other donors cord blood is known to help treat certain type of cancers rather than using patient’s own cord blood because, the immune cells from a donor is found to be more robust than compared to that of the patient.
- But then there is a practice of saving the baby’s cord blood for a family member who may need it. It is considered to be more useful for the siblings of the donor due to the match in the genes. The effectiveness is rated up to 25%. So, considering that you banked the baby’s cord blood there is 75% chance the recipient will probably need other donor’s cord blood as well.
- Another major limitation of the cord blood is that they are found to be effective in children than adults. Just 3 – 5 ounce of the blood is taken since they have limited stem cells; adults will not be benefitting from the small quantity.
- If you are an expectant parent, you need to make yourself aware that the cord blood isn’t the only known way to treat degenerative diseases. If you need stem cells, you can try and seek the cells from the donor’s bone marrow. You can have the stem cells from a donor within the family or from another donor.
- If your little one is suffering from leukemia, cord blood isn’t the only hope. There is a variety of means to treat the condition.