By Cara Paiuk
An introduction to my journey
Let’s face it: every first-time mother buys too many supplies, over-priced baby clothes, and a whole slew of things that aren’t needed. The problem is, you often don’t find out how unnecessary it all was until much later when the receipts are gone and refunds are impossible. That’s how I felt about private cord blood banking until recently.
I am admittedly a bit of a know-it-all, but as I started investigating cord blood banking again in earnest (especially because I am currently pregnant with twins), I was surprised to find out how little I actually knew about the topic. It turns out, like so many things in life, that cord blood banking is not as black-and-white as I had thought. Whereas I originally believed there was clearly a right and wrong when it comes to cord blood banking, there is in fact ample room for scholarly disagreement as well as personal preference.
I wanted to gather more statistics to highlight the tragedy of private cord blood banking. How many cord blood collections were going to private cord blood banks versus how many were being donated to public banks? How many of the collections were actually viable upon arrival at private banks? Why didn’t any mothers I spoke to know about the public bank option? The information I wanted to find wasn’t readily available, so I reached out to thought leaders in the field including Dr. Frances Verter (founder of the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, ParentsGuideCordBlood.org), National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP, BeTheMatch.org), and Cord Blood Registry (CBR, CordBlood.com). Slowly, a picture emerged that was more complex than anything I had anticipated, forcing me to question and ultimately abandon many of my previous beliefs about cord blood banking.
- When you have a high-risk family medical history of disease(s) currently treatable by cord blood.
- When you have a high-risk family medical history of disease(s) currently in clinical trials and speculated to be treatable be cord blood in the future.
- When a sibling has a medical condition that could benefit from a cord blood therapy.
- When you are at high risk for a premature delivery; your offspring are 10 times more likely to develop cerebral palsy, which is currently in stage 2 clinical trials for autologous cord blood infusion therapy (however, be mindful of cord blood clamping timing).
- If you are a mixed race couple.
- If you’re highly optimistic about regenerative medicine.
- You are financially secure and private banking does not stretch your budget.
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