Friday, April 25, 2008

Cord Blood Banking

I picked up a cord blood collection kit for my unborn child today. I did the same thing for Pumpkin before she was born too. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which, if banked, may save the lives of my children one day if they ever need some sort of stem cell therapy. It's basically an insurance policy that I hope is never needed. I think that's the case with almost all insurance policies though. When I was registering today, I asked the person helping me how many times they've had a client actually need to use their banked cord blood. "Once" was the reply. "But it worked out very well!", she added. They've been banking blood for 10 years. It is good to know that there is a strong likelihood that we will never need to make a withdrawal ourselves, but that being said, is it really a good idea to have invested in this? When I first left the office in a daze of disbelief, after paying the initial fees of more than $800 (!!!!!), I thought about people who just don't have the money for cord blood banking. I wondered why they government hasn't stepped in to ensure that people of all economic backgrounds could have this sort of insurance. Then I spoke with my husband, who half joked that we really didn't need to do this for the second child given that the batch that we collected from Pumpkin would probably be compatible with any other children we have. If only one person has ever withdrawn their blood from our particular bank, what are the odds that two children from the same family will need to make a withdrawal? He's right, you know. I don't know why he didn't offer that thought when we agreed to do this for our second child. I started feeling like a sucker. Is this overkill or am I being ridiculous even questioning it? I'm sure the family of the one person who actually needed his or her cord blood will say it is justified, but given how rarely anyone needs to do that, I have to ask if this is just one more way of taking advantage of a generation of parents who will buy almost anything for their kids? Did any of you bank your children's blood?

6 comments:

DS said...

Fear is a great and unfortunately ruthless salesman.

ourlittlefunnybunny said...

I never did. We were approached many times at the hospital during my pregnancy but I took the ostrich with it's head in the sand approach and didn't want to even think about that option. Very silly of me I know but I just hoped that we would never regret not doing it one day.
I know a few people from work who did it for both children, so don't feel bad at all.

kittenpie said...

We did not, largely because stem cell therapy is experimental and onyl applicable for a very few things and no guarantee of anything, really. There is hope that in the future they will ahve developed various different ways of using them, but right now, I don't think there's enough science for me to spend the exhorbitant amounts of money on it. Fear is, as ds above says, a great motivator, but I'm not sure the facts bear it out at this point, and banking on maybes of hopeful future scientific breakthroughs seemed too flimsy to me.

Anonymous said...

Boy or girl ???...Too late..but this may be of interest anyway...

New research shows a clear link between higher energy intake around the time of conception and the birth of sons—especially by mothers who eat cereals for breakfast.

The study, by a team of researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford, looked at the eating habits of 740 British mothers expecting their first child. The overall sex ratio of their children was close to 50:50. But when split into three groups according to the number of calories the mothers consumed around the time of conception, the picture changed. Of those with the highest energy intake, 56% had sons, against 45% in the group with the lowest calorie intake. Moreover, besides consuming more calories the women with sons were more likely to have eaten a higher quantity and range of nutrients, especially breakfast cereals.

This could help to explain why there has been a small but consistent decline over the past 40 years in the proportion of boys being born in relatively well-off industrialised countries, says Fiona Mathews of the University of Exeter, the lead author of the group's paper, which was published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Big dietary changes have taken place in developed countries. Yet despite rising levels of obesity and a decline in physical activity, the group could find no evidence of a link between the body-mass index of a mother and the sex of her child. But worries about weight have led many women to eat low-calorie diets. Moreover, says Dr Mathews, skipping breakfast has become far more common.
So what could be happening? It is known from in vitro fertilisation research that high levels of glucose can enhance the growth and development of male embryos but inhibit female ones. Skipping breakfast extends the normal period of nocturnal fasting and depresses glucose levels, which the group thinks could be interpreted by the body as indicative of hard times. So, prospective parents now know what to do first thing in the morning.

Melissa said...

Ok that's funny. I'd say the comment before mine was targeted spam but there isn't even a link!

As for your question, I don't have kids but I know I'd bank for at least one. All if I had the money.

It's not just the first fee, though, but the fees after that as well. Have you worked out how much it'll be over "x" number of years? The first 20 for example? Take a look at that number and figure out whether or not you think that's an acceptable amount to pay for an "insurance" policy for your kids that (hopefully) may never be used.

I have a feeling I'd still do it if I could afford to. Even if it was a lot of money. If I had it, I think I'd spend it on this. For at least one, and for all if I could.

Melissa said...

And also, I was thinking along the same lines as your husband before you wrote what he'd said. One's blood would probably be compatible enough for all. But if possible, I think I'd still do all. If not though, I think his reasoning is sound.