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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To bank, or not to bank? That is the question.

Howdy, followers!  Hope everyone's having a great week so far.  Today I would like to discuss with you a kind of new topic: cord blood banking.  Ever heard of it?  I hadn't either, until I was pregnant.  Brace yourselves, a boring intriguing discussion is about to ensue.

Cord blood is the blood that stays in the umbilical cord after it has been cut when the baby is born.  It contains unique stem cells that can be used in some medical treatments.  Often times, it is discarded.  OR, these days, you can save it...for a price.

The stem cells that are found in cord blood can be used in many different medical treatments to regenerate healthy blood and immune cells.  It has been used to treat life-threatening diseases including leukemia and other cancers.  Additionally, there have been a lot of recent studies which show that it may have the potential to treat conditions such as juvenile diabetes, which currently have no cure.  Basically, by collecting the cord blood after the baby's birth (which is apparently simple, safe, and painless for both Mommy and baby and must occur within 15 minutes after birth), you will have the peace of mind that should a medical emergency occur for you, the baby, any siblings, etc., the cord blood may be able to help with treatment.

Blah blah blah, I know this may all sound totally boring - but it is a relevant and very prevalent discussion in the medical community today.  My Mom actually brought it to my attention the other day - she works with someone who is pregnant, and this woman is on the fence about whether or not to bank her baby's cord blood, so Mom asked me what my stance is.  Truthfully, I'm on the fence, too.  When my Mom's co-worker talked to her doctor, the doctor told her that as of today, not enough research has been done for the cord blood to be as valuable as the banks want you to believe, because it currently has limited uses (with hopes for improvement in the future).  The doctor described it as more of a marketing ploy, and advised her not to bank the cord blood.  It is a good question, and something to think about.  I have had it on my list of topics to research, but I hadn't even thought of asking my doctor - I think I will the next time I go, just to see what she says.

I discussed a lot of pros to cord banking above, but one big con is that it's pretty expensive to bank your baby's cord blood.  According to the research I've done, it can cost anywhere from $900 - $2,100 initially, with an additional annual storage fee of around $100/year.  I know that in the long run it doesn't seem like a lot, especially if there are a lot of break-throughs for usage; however, up-front, it's a lot to spend - particularly when you add in all of the other expenses associated with a baby.  I've said it before and will continue to have nightmares fret over this fact: babies are not cheap.  Even if I was given everything I could ever possibly  need for this baby and didn't have to spend a dime on furniture, a stroller, clothes, accessories, etc. it is expensive to even give birth - and that's with good insurance. 

One alternative that I haven't yet discussed is the option to donate your baby's cord blood so that another family can use it.  I still have a lot of research to do, and I still want to talk to the doctor, but I feel like at the minimum I would probably be willing to donate - can't hurt to try to help save someone else's life, right? 

So, there you have it.  Thoughts?  Do any of my Mommy friends out there have any experience with this?  Did any of you bank your child's cord blood, or donate it?  If so, can you offer any advice?

That's all for me tonight - Layla and I are having a girls night.  I just ate Lucky Charms for dinner (When's the last time you had those?  It has been years for me, and once the thought crossed my mind I couldn't live without them), and it was delightful.  Now we're going to watch some girly shows while Dan isn't here to hog the remote!  :-)

Hump Day's over - not long now until the weekend!


1 comment:

  1. Love your blog! :) From what I've read and how I understand it, the chance that your baby will be able to benefit from her OWN cord blood is very very small. There is a much greater chance that a sibling would be able to use it and even then it's not a guarantee. Sounds like your chances of finding a "match" are just as good using donated cord blood as cord blood that you've banked from your own children. That being said, I have decided to donate - potentially help someone else AND add to the "pool" so that if we ever need to use donated cord blood I know that I did my part in keeping the supply up. Plus - I don't think there is any cost if you donate. Just my two cents :)


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