Recently I attended a Medical conference and I was amazed to see the kind of marketing the Cord Blood Bank companies do.
And It's really hard to ignore the ads for cord blood banks, offering a lifetime of protection for your children.
Some, parents-to-be, are sold on the advertising that banking their child's cord blood could potentially treat an array of diseases of the child, or his siblings, could encounter in their lives.
Cord blood is taken from the umbilical cord right after a baby is born, is marketed as a treatment for diseases such as leukemia(a cancer), thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and as a potential source of cells for regenerative medicine – a cutting-edge field of medicine studying how to repair tissues damaged by everything from heart disease to cerebral palsy.
But question arises whether many companies marketing materials confuse or even mislead parents about the usefulness of private banking. Private cord blood banking seems to cost like a hefty price tag, but many expectant parents may see it as an investment in their child's long-term health.
Cord blood do have uses but the problem is that companies do not mention that cord blood stem cells cannot be used for his/her own use. The chance of baby later benefiting from his or her own banked cord blood is almost NIL (<0.04 percent). Because the child's blood contain the same problem for which he should be treated then how can they work on the same person. For this reason, if ever your child needs blood later in life then it will be from another healthy individual's cord blood who will have a close genetic matching.
It is common for families to ask us to use the cord blood stored earlier for transplant. And a family feels cheated when they are made aware that cord blood cannot be used for the same child as it already have the disease for which child is to be cured.
Should you bank, or donate?
It’s a personal choice but companies should provide the right information. Public banks if available in your country, then one should, as it will help others and other's blood will help you. Mostly doctors recommend public bank donation over private banking because it is mostly for free and the cord blood has limited personal applications. But if your private bank assure you a return matching blood if you ever need or if you think that future innovations might make it of some use, then you can think of it. But finally it is a personal and informed choice.