I am in my 32nd week and we are still dubious about whether we should opt for stem cell or not. Stem cell banking or the cord blood bank has been active in India for the past few years, is what the reps claim. However, I have known about this only recently.
Having said that, when we talk about stem cell banking through the hospital or any private stem cell bank, they charge a bomb and also the chances of using that cord blood are low, unless of course your family has a history of some diseases like leukaemia, some disorders or any other disease which requires your cord cell. But I wonder, this facility was not available say 10 years back, how our parents or grandparents managed the situation? Well, as technology advances, the medical facility also advances with time.
However, as I said, it’s up to an individual to decide, but if you know your child have a high risk of any disorders based on the family history, the need for stem cell becomes higher. Otherwise, the general couple should also talk to the doctor about any such risk and based on that take a decision.
The other day, I came across an ad in the newspaper about the cord blood banking and the rate was almost half of what the hospital was quoting. So I decided to do some research on this. And based on this, I have jotted down some points, which is helpful to all the couples who are expecting, or planning for a baby:
1. If budget is a constraint for you, you can cross verify the rates in different banks.
2. Opt for a reputed bank and check the reviews on the same and check with couple’s who have opted for this, what are the advantages of the same.
3. Make sure the cord blood is collected right after the umbilical cord has been cut, and is not delayed. Because if it’s delayed its effect is nullified.
4. Being a customer you should do a proper study on the bank you are opting for and make sure that they have a facility of storage as well as stem cell therapy. If they are charging a bomb just for the storage and do not provide for the therapy, then there is no point in opting for that particular bank. So enquire about the same with the bank and the hospital through which this facility is provided.
5. Moreover, I read somewhere that the place where the storage is done should be less prone to natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. SO make sure your stem cell bank meets these criteria.
6. The storage facility should have power backups. This is very important because when they claim to store the stem cell on a high degree of temperature, they should have enough power back up to live up to the expectations of the customer who are paying a huge amount from their pocket. Also it should be highly protected from fire. It should be squeaky clean and under constant observation. However, they do not allow us to inspect the storage place but, check with the staff who came to you with the offer.
7. The banks should be accessible to provide the service when the need arises.
8. Also, make sure the stem cell doesn’t go to the wrong hands, if you do not require it; you can always donate the same to someone who is in real need. But make sure that it is donated with your consent.
Having said that, In India we have private and public banks. In public banks, parents donate the cord blood to a central facility for anybody to use it that needs it, of course if the child doesn’t require it. . It’s more like a blood bank where as and when the need for the blood arises, they use it accordingly. In public cord banks, the consent of the parents is taken at the time of collecting and so it can be used for anybody.
However, in private banks, the cord blood is stored for the sole use of the child or the sibling or any other family member of the child. And only when it is not required for anyone, is the consent of the parents or child any other family member (in case of parents not available) taken to donate it to the family who requires it.
So In a nutshell, you have to take extra care and keep all the above things in mind before opting for cord blood banking.