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Pros and Cons of Cord Blood Banking

What is Cord Blood Banking?

The trend of Cord Blood Banking is in vogue. This practice involves collecting blood from the umbilical cord immediately after the birth of a new born. This blood is stored for use in future. This cord blood is rich in stem cells which can be transformed into any kind of human cell. This implies that these stored blood cells can be used for treatment of various disease for the person whose stem cells are collected, or a sibling or even a relative. You can check the Top Cord Blood Banking Companies in USA.

How is the Cord Blood obtained?

Firstly, the cord blood registry procedure should be followed. As per the usual practice, after the baby is delivered, the doctor clamps the umbilical cord at two places at a distance of about ten inches. He then cuts the cord and separates the child from the mother. The umbilical cord is usually discarded but according to the recent trends, blood is collected from the umbilical cord which is cut. The blood collected is about 40 millimeters.

This blood is then sealed in a bag and is then sent to the cord blood bank or the laboratory for testing. Sometimes, even the mother’s blood is taken for testing. The entire process is painless for the child as well as the mother.

Where is the Cord Blood Stored?

The blood is stored in the Cord Blood Banks. These banks are of three types:

1 Public Cord Blood Bank:

These banks do not charge any amount for storage of the cord blood stems. Any donation made is made available to the one’s who are in need for it. It may also be used for research purposes.

2 Private Cord Banks:

These banks store the blood cells for the use of donor or family members only. They charge a high rate of fee for storage. These banks can be very expensive.

3 Direct-Donation Banks:

They are a combination of the above two kinds of banks. They use the stored cells for donation but also reserve the same for the use of donor or any of its family members only.

Pros of Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking:

1. An insurance against future illnesses:

Stem Cell storage is a very reliable source of treatment against serious illnesses that may affect a person over a period of his/her lifetime. These diseases include leukemia, certain kinds of cancers, sickle-cell anemia as well as certain metabolic disorders. Cord Blood cells can be transformed to any kind of cells and are thus very beneficial. It is also easier to match with a patient’s requirement since it is collected from the patient’s own cord blood.

2. An Alternative to Bone Marrow Transplantation:

While curing fatal diseases like cancers, the body of the patient undergoes a turmoil both physically and emotionally. The physical turmoil caused due to radiation and chemotherapy can be cured due to bone marrow transplantation. However, the cells from bone marrow are very mature. These mature cells may not be acceptable in the body of the patient. Such is not the case with cord blood stem cells because they are very immature cells and can be transformed as per the requirements of the patient. They also often belong to the patient himself.

3. Painless Procedure:

The extraction procedure of cord blood cells is extremely easy and painless. It does not involve a time consuming procedure and safe to store.

4. Always Accessible:

The cord blood stem cells once stored can be used by the donor as well as his/her family members anytime in their lifetime. They remains always accessible as long as one continues to bear the cost of its storage in the bank.

5. More Effective:

These cells contain more fluids containing stem cells than bone marrow and are thus more effective. They have nearly ten times more stem cells than present in bone marrow.

6. No Infections in Cord Blood Stem Cells:

They are very less likely to contract any infections even while they are stored over a period of many years. They are also not likely to be rejected as adult stem cells as these cells adapt well.

7. Therapies using Cord Blood Stem Cells are more Successful:

Over the last decade, the rate of success of Cord Blood Stem Cells have improved and advanced due to progress in science and research in this subject.

Cons of Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking:

1. The Blood Collected may never get used:

The stem cells collected from umbilical cord may never be used at all. They may be an insurance against future diseases but as per research, only 1 in 400 people really use the stored stem blood cells in their lifetime.

2. Cannot be used for Genetic Diseases:

If a disease is caused due to a genetic abnormality in a person, then the storage of cord blood stem cells is useless. The same genes subsist in the cord blood stem cells as well.

3. Can be used for a Limited time span:

As per current research, the Cord Blood Stem Cells can be used only until fifteen years after storage.

4. Storage not recommended  by Doctors:

Obstetricians, Gynecologists as well as Pediatricians do not suggest storage of stem cells until and unless there is a sibling of the new born with a medical condition that would be effectively treated using the stored stem cells. Most doctors recommend them to be donated in public banks for the good of those in need instead of being stored in private banks for personal gains.

5. A child may never need it:

The chances of a child needing the cord blood stem cells are extremely low. Even though these cells are a cure to various diseases, one may absolutely never feel the need to use it. Studies suggest the chances of putting these cells to use are as low as 1 in 217 cases.

6. Storage of Cord Blood Stem cell is an Expensive Affair:

The storage of cord blood stem cells in private banks involves a huge expenditure. The cost includes spending on an annual storage fees plus various other fees extracted as processing fee. For something that may absolutely not be used for your child or has the least chance of being beneficial to him/her; this is indeed an expensive investment. If you are looking for cheaper options, you can still try for the Top Cord Blood Banks in India.

7. Most Stored Cord Blood is Discarded:

The cells stored in public banks is either donated to someone in need or may also be simply used for research purposes. In private banks, if the families no longer require Cord Blood, they are discarded.

The decision of whether or not to store the Cord Blood Stem Cells should be made after proper research. The parents must also consider the option after discussing it with their doctor and also the banks in which it is stored. Only a comprehensive weighing of all pros and cons can help a couple make a definite decision as to what suits their requirement. You can check out the ways to compare cord blood banks.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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