Eery now and then, we are listening about cord blood banking. We thought to cover the entire topic of what is umbilical cord blood banking all about? You must have noticed those little pop up ads asking you to SAVE and/or INSURE your stem cell. We may not pay attention so clearly for the pop ads, but our topic for today is all about STEM CELL BANKING. This can be important information for the expecting mothers or the family planning couple too.
What is Umbilical Cord Blood Banking?
We have all studied about the cells and organism during our schooling. So what is a Stem Cell?
It is a unique cell in our body that has the capability of generating its own type in unlimited multiples and from which, other kinds of cell too can be generated by differentiation. Basically, they have the potential to develop into just any type of cell in a human body that has been lost in an accident or injury.
Stem cells can also repair and replace the tissues in a human body. It is said to consume a power to heal, which is why it can be used to treat a disease and/or injury. It stimulates the body to repair its own.
In fact, the procedure of Bone Marrow transplants has been possible in the last 40 years only by relying on the stem cells derived from bone marrow, which has also drastically changed the treatment of blood disorders and cancers like Leukemia.
In the last 20 years, the researchers have been finding out the new ways to utilize the stem cells or Umbilical cord blood to rebuild the tissues in most parts of the body, wherever it is damaged.
Where do stem cells come from? What are its sources?
The adult stem cells are mostly mature found in specific tissues only, with a limited function to get generated on its own for only its own type, depending on the type of tissue where it resides.
Whereas, the embryonic stem cells are derived from an embryo, when it is only a few days old this is capable enough to regenerate on its own into any kind of cell or tissue in the body. Therefore, it is of a vital importance to the scientists doing both the medical and basic researches.
Although, stem cells clearly represent a revolution in the world of health care; however, we are still in the early days of the research.
Is cord blood banking really essential? Or if we twist it
Is Cord Blood Banking worth It?
People have still been debating on this, mainly due to the fairly high costs of the private cord blood banks against the very low possibility of actually using that blood in your family.
How long does cord blood last?
Although, it has been said that umbilical cord blood can be stored for about more than 15 years; however, it has been only 20 years fairly since the cord blood has been considered for the treatment. So, there is no clear information available yet as to for how long can a cord blood be stored.
Quite often the doctors recommend to opt for a public cord blood bank, unless you come from a family with some strong medical history and diseases such as:
Leukemia, Lymphomas, Sickle-cell Anemia, aplastic anemia, Immune deficiency disorders, thalassemia.
It is highly recommended to consult your family general physician to help you take a better decision about worth of cord blood banking for your family.
It is also worth knowing that most of the cord transplants in India so far, are from unrelated donations from public banks. The cord blood donations from the families have only been used so far to treat the inherited blood disorders such as Thalassemia. The other diseases are still under the study and may change in the future too.
Types of cord blood banking concepts in India
It has only become popular about the umbilical cord blood banking in the last few recent years. The two types of banking facilities are:
- Public cord banks
- Private Cord Blood Banks
There were about 3 public donor banks and 7 private donor banks in India in the year 2011. The numbers have grown ever since then.
What is cord blood banking used for?
Public cord blood banks, is where the parents will donate the cord blood of their baby for free of charge in the central facility for the use of anybody who needs it. Basically, cord blood is not stored for a specific person or family. Such donors are usually tested for any blood related disorders or other problems, as not everyone will meet the screening standards set by the public cord blood banks.
The private cord blood bank will be storing the cord blood from a specific family for their use only. And this type of storage is often called as Biological insurance. There are different slabs of fees. It can be collection fees and annual maintenance fees. The prices in private banks vary as many such banks charge too high.
You should always check the financial stability and the pricing options for whichever cord blood bank that you use. Also, by all means, get it verified whether the hospital where you are planning to deliver is indeed affiliated with the cord blood storage bank of your choice.
Cord Blood Banking Pros and Cons
Here are some questions to ask yourself for taking a better decision:
should we save cord blood?
If you have family history of any listed disease then definitely you should go for umbilical cord blood banking.
Is the collection fee and annual cord blood bank storage fee really affordable?
Check for certification and reputation of the cord blood bank.
How close are the qualities set standards for your opted private cord bank as compared with a public donor bank?
Have you checked with technological expertise and experience of cord blood bank?
Is it offering stem cell therapy options? If not, there are high chances that the cord blood bank may not be genuinely involved.
Is your bank with a good network of hospitals, accessibility and other tie-ups?
Where is Cord blood bank located? know the place, where your child’s cord blood will be stored? Ideally, it should be in areas with no probability of earth quake or flood.
Is the facility also protected equally safe against the fire?
What happens to the cord bank blood if the private bank goes out of business?
The information related to umbilical cord blood banking, would definitely help you in making a wise decision in securing your child’s future.
Do you have any such experiences yet? Please share it with us and our patrons.