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Saving Cord Blood Pros and Cons – Banking Stem Cells Not Worth it ,Biggest Disadvantage is High Oppurtunity Cost

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Cord blood refers to the blood that is collected after the birth of a child after the umbilical cord has been cut and is extracted from the fetal end of the cord, diverting up to 75  ml from the neonate. It is usually done within 10 minutes of giving birth.An adequate cord blood collection requires at least 75 ml in order to ensure that there will be enough cells to be used for a transplantation

Saving Cord Blood Cons

  1.  Cost – Cord Blood Preservation by Private Blood Banks costs almost $2000-$5000 which is quite a big sum for a majority of the world population.Note most of this Cord Blood Banking is done by Private Banks which have no regulation.In countries like India they are being heavily marketed by companies whose survival over the next year can be questioned much less the 20 years they claim to bank the cord blood
  2. Frauds and Shills – Without regulation and easy money,many frauds and shills have entered the stem cell banking industry.
  3.  Cord Blood Ethics goes into Trash – These companies have not only targeting parents but also doctors in India.No doubt paying expensive commissions to doctors
  4.  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”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. Umbilical Cord Blood Banking: Implications for Perinatal Care ProvidersThe 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.
  7. Volume too Little for Adults – Cord Blood is insufficient for treating adults as the volume is too low.Using 2 different cord blood samples is unsuccessful in general.So the whole shenanigan of banking cord blood at high cost may prove uselss

Saving Cord Blood Pros

1.   Siblings – Cord Blood is most useful for treating disorders amongst siblings.Cord Blood proves to be most effective when used on a blood sibling.

2. Painless – Saving of Cord Blood is a painless activity and it saves cord blood which is anyway wasted in the birthing process.

3. Perfect Match Not Needed – Cord Blood does not need a perfect match as Cord blood can be transplanted even if there is only a partial match between donor and recipient. The cells present in cord blood are less likely to attack the tissue of patient  as compared to bone marrow transplant.This means that public stem cell banks will prove more useful in the future

Saving Cord Blood Banking Costs – Better off buying Health Insurance

Saving Cord Blood is like taking insurance for a disease which has a very low probability of occurring.It is based on new therapies being developed using cord blood stem cells.In fact medical science is going forward in the direction of public stem cell banks which can give these new cures using stem cells with very low cost stem cells from public  banks.Matching Stem Cell Donors is also easy with thousands of sample  rather than  one or two.

Cord Blood  Is it Worth it

From the above discussion it is clear than Cord Blood is not worth cost involved which can be better be used in buying additional health insurance which can save you from more high probability diseases .Cord Blood Education is vital for places like India where the per capital income in India is low.Lots of parents who would be better off buying health insurance for their kids is falling into the hands of unscrupulous marketers.Stem Cell Banking in India is in fact is a big marketing fraud playing on a parent’s emotions.IT has has use in specific cases where a blood sibling has a disease which can be cured by a proven stem cell therapy.

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Abhishek Shah

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