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Stem Cell Banking in India using Baby Cord Blood – Marketing Fraud playing on Parent’s Emotion – Its Banned in Italy,France,Might Deprive Child of Crucial Blood

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Stem Cell Banking of Newborn Cord Blood has become the latest marketing fraud to hit the Indian cities with overzealous marketers selling the option to bank the stem cells from the cord blood of newborns for around $2,500 (a big sum in a country with per capita income of $1000).Private storage of one’s own cord blood is unlawful in Italy and France, and it is discouraged in some other European states.The companies have massive marketing teams which visit expecting parents with expensive brochures and CDs to convince them of the goodness of stem cell banking.These companies offer to take away the blood from the cord of a newborn from which they will extract the stem cells and store in in facilities for further use  in the future.These companies have not only targeting parents but also doctors in India.No doubt paying expensive commissions to doctors ( medical profession in India too has become heavily corrupt).

A Person doing a little bit of research on stem cell banking will find that its value is extremely limited and you would be better of plonking the money into health insurance rather than on these charlatans.Here are the reasons why  prospective parents should not consider stem cell banking in India

1) These companies are small and with little history.There is little assurance that these companies will exist in the future when you might need these stem cells.

2) No Quality – There is little quality assurance as these companies can easily mismatch or destroy the stem cells.The contracts have no measures to penalize these companies.Also contract law enforcement in India is mostly a joke

3) You might be depriving your newborn crucial cord blood – “Concerns have been raised that the current interest in cord blood could cause a perception that cord blood is ‘unused’ by the birth process, thus decreasing the amount of blood which is infused into the child as part of the birth process. The pulsation of the cord pushes blood into the child, and it has been recommended that the cord cease pulsation prior to clamping. With the demand for cord blood increasing, there is a possibility that the cord could be clamped prematurely to preserve even more ‘extra’ cord blood. This action could have detrimental effects on the child’s future development.The American Academy of Pediatricians notes: “if cord clamping is done too soon after birth, the infant may be deprived of a placental blood transfusion, resulting in lower blood volume and increased risk for anemia” – Wikipedia

4) Using own Cord Blood makes Little Sense – For prospective parents who think they are giving their child a present by storing their cord blood might need to rethink because “Using one’s own cord blood cells might not be wise or effective, especially in cases of childhood cancers and leukemia.Children who develop an immunological disorder often are unable to use their own cord blood for transplant because the blood also contains the same genetic defect. Nearly all of the transplants using privately banked cord blood have gone to relatives with pre-existing conditions, not to the donors”

5) Negligible Benefits of Cord Blood Stem Cells -Other established treatments may be more suitable for the patient, rather than cord blood transplants, and it may become possible to obtain the needed blood or more generalized stem cells by other means, such as from the bloodstream of an adult or from tissue culture.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2006 opinion states, “There is still insufficient evidence to recommend directed commercial cord blood collection and stem-cell storage in low-risk families.”[1]

The policy of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) supports public cord blood banking (similar to collection and banking of other blood products, i.e. altruistic, anyone can use it), as well as stating it should be considered under certain circumstances. SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines, No. 156, March 2005.[34] Umbilical Cord Blood Banking: Implications for Perinatal Care Providers

The policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics policy states that “private storage of cord blood as ‘biological insurance’ is unwise” unless there is a family member with a current or potential need to undergo a stem cell transplantation.[2]

Similarly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend private cord blood banking.

source- Wikipedia

The likelihood of using cord blood in private banks has rested mostly on the odds that the donor child or a family member will require a stem cell transplant. In the United States, the lifetime probability (up to age 70) that an individual will undergo an autologous transplant of their own stem cells is 1 in 435, the lifetime probability to undergo an allogeneic transplant of stem cells from a donor (such as a sibling) is 1 in 400, and the overall odds of undergoing any stem cell transplant is 1 in 217.These figures are based on actual transplant rates in 2001-2003. – WikiPedia

Public Stem Cell Banks

This is the right solution to providing a cure using Stem Cells.This prevents the expensive storage of stem cells on an individual basis and provides more options to individuals of finding the right stem cells as public banks have thou sans of donors.The US Government is already funding a public bank.The larger obstacle facing public banks is that the high costs required to maintain them has prevented more than a handful from opening. Because public banks do not charge storage fees, many medical centers do not have the funds required to establish and maintain them,the Indian government too should think of doing one by taxing these snake oil stem cell private companies.


Abhishek Shah

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Michael Doherty


    If cord blood collection is not necessary then why do transplants from cord blood stem cell banks now exceed those from bone marrow stem cell banks.

    This is now a fact in the USA and Europe.

    I look forward to your response as I want to do the best for my family.


  2. Abhishek Shah

    I am not disputing the need for public cord blood stem cell banks ,only the private ones which have little quality control,little assurance of staying power and little use for need.Its a public good and should be in the public domain,having multiple stem cell banks is not needed and specially those in the private sector who are out to make a quick buck.In countries like India where there is there is not enough healthcare for critical diseases spending money on such esoteric healthcare remedies with negligible quality assurance and using unethical marketing practices is quite criminal in my view.

    In the USA I think there is already a public stem cell bank


  3. Rajesh

    I understand that you are advocating public banks and are not averse to cord cell banking per se. If one is convinced that certain measures would be taken to correctly preserve the cord cells, then is it a good idea? Some companies offer to store the cord blood in Singapore. Is it a better option?

  4. Abhishek Shah

    I would not be enamored of Singapore as well.There are companies which tout foreign partnerships and things like joint banking in exotic countries.Unless you can verify this by an independent expert its of no use