If you knew there was an insurance that could potentially save your child's life, wouldn't you buy it?
momlogic's jenny: Before my son was born, I picked up a brochure at my OB/GYN's about Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking. Cord blood, which is also called "placental blood," is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood, which is usually discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord, contains stem cells that are genetically unique to you and your family. Stem cells, can only be found in bone marrow, peripheral blood (the blood that circulates through your body), and umbilical cord blood ... And birth is the only time you can collect umbilical cord blood. Meaning, if your child develops a life threatening disease like leukemia, sickle cell, or even juvenile diabetes, doctors cannot use your child's stem cells to treat their illness unless you've collected it.
As my OB/GYN put it, "It's an insurance policy. Without really knowing the full potential of what it can cure (though it has cured some things), it really comes down to if you have the money and it won't break you. You hope that it's money you're throwing down the tubes." The cost to collect, process, and bank these cells can cost up to $2000. Plus, there is usually an annual fee of around $125 to store the collected cord blood. For some families, banking cord blood is an "insurance" that is worth every penny. But for others, spending this kind of money without enough evidence that the cord blood really can cure nearly 70 diseases is simply not an option.
Without hesitation, we made the decision to go for it. It wasn't that parting with 2000 bucks was no biggie, but deciding to use money towards what could potentially (god forbid) save my child's life seems like a no brainer. Plus, the collection process is totally noninvasive and takes less than 5 minutes (and at that point, 5 minutes is nothing compared to the labor you've just endured). Right after my son was born, my doctor stuck a needle in the umbilical cord. The cord, though not attached to my son, was still attached to the the placenta which was still attached to me; Through the needle, the cord blood was collected and placed in to a special kit sent to us from Cord Blood Registry, one of the many cord blood banking and storage facilities out there. Within hours of the delivery, a courier came to the hospital, picked up the sealed package and shipped it back to a natural disaster safe compound in Arizona where it will hopefully never have to see the light of day. Ever. Again.
Many people I know, including many of the staffers here, did not bank their child's cord blood and think it's a complete waste. I can understand that without a guarantee that these cells could really cure an illness, it's hard to "throw away" that kind of money. But knowing that these cells are available and could save my child's life, was all the evidence I needed. And for me, you can't put a price tag on that peace of mind.
Did you store your baby's cord blood? Would you? Tell us your thoughts in our Pregnancy Group!
|Jenny, author of Perfectly Disheveled, is a writer/producer, and first time mom to a 1-year-old boy.|
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