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Decide about cord-blood banking

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 03-10-2006

What is cord-blood banking?
Cord blood banking refers to the collection and storage of the umbilical cord blood of your child. This blood, from the placenta and umbilical cord, is rich in hematopoietic stem cells. Stem cells from this cord blood play an important role in the treatment of certain serious blood and immune system related genetic diseases such as cancers that are treated with bone marrow transplants.


 


Benefits



  • Cord blood stem cells have a higher success rate than stem cells from the bone marrow.


  • They are valuable in treating conditions such as leukemia or lymphoma, aplastic anemia, severe sickle cell anemia, severe combined immune deficiency, and other diseases that require bone marrow transplants.


  • They may prove useful for a family that has a medical history of diseases that are usually treated using bone marrow transplants.

Disadvantages



  • The odds that the baby’s cord blood will ever be used to treat a family member are very low; odds that it will ever be used to treat the same child are even lower.


  • It is expensive. Storing a sample of cord blood may cost approximately $1, 500, along with an annual maintenance of $ 150.


  • It has limited use. Cord blood stem cells are mostly used in the treatment of children and young adults. The quantity of stem cells provided by cord blood is not enough for transplant into adults.


  • It is not yet certain whether stem cells from close relatives actually offer a higher rate of success than those from strangers.


  • The process of collecting the blood holds some risk, though very low, to the baby.

Disclaimer: The above information is commonsense reflection drawn from general experience. If you are looking for expert medical advice, please consult your doctor.