cord blood and stem cell banking
We're considering banking cord blood and stem cell from our second child. We didn't seriously explore this for our first child and my OB/GYN highly recommends. She pointed out that it would be beneficial for our first child as well. It seems difficult to weigh if this is worth the cost when the research is still really in the early stages. I'd be interested to know what other parents decided and if they recommend a particular company.
Jan 23, 2012
We voted against this for both of our children. These were our reasons:
1) The blood belongs in the baby, not the bank. The placenta continues to pump blood after birth. Banking requires you to stop this early. Babys that get all of their cord blood have higher iron levels at 4 months. Breast milk contains no iron so this is important.
2) It's expensive
3) The chance that one of your children can use the blood is very low (1 in 435 over the next 70 years)
4) It wont be long before it unnecessary. Medicine is progressing rapidly and using adult cells will be viable in the not distant future.
We donated ours when we had a baby last May. We talked to my OB about it and she said the cord blood won't likely be used to help my child's sickness for many reasons. We've decided to donate it so that some other baby somewhere out ther could benefit. Just didn't think that the probability is high enough for us to go through it. Parents magazine had an article about a boy who survived his illness due to donated cord blood which definitely made me feel good about our choice.
There's good sense why the baby should have the cord blood, not the bank, and here a study to prove it:
A recent study in Sweden compared the outcomes of quick clamping (10 seconds) and delayed clamping (3 minutes) of the umbilical cord on exclusively breastfed babies. There was no difference immediately, but at 4 months of age, the babies who had received all the cord blood had significantly higher blood iron (45% more). This makes sense: there is no iron in breastmilk, and babies rely on iron stored in their bodies for the first months of their life. Here is the article:
Actually, you can still bank the blood and leave the placenta attached for the now recommended three minutes. This has changed since I had my babies 2 and 4 years ago. My friend just had her second in November and they left the chord uncut for 3 minutes AND she banked cord blood. They do not take very much for banking, so the baby is still getting plenty, and certainly more than they were getting with early cutting whether banking or not. Also, I believe your info on iron in breast milk is incorrect. We banked with both of ours and thought of it as an insurance policy. You hope you'll never have to use it, but will be happy to have it if the need arises! Many advances are being made, which are all quite amazing.
Ok, maybe the info isn't wrong about iron in breastmilk, but talk to you doctor about what they will do with the cord immediately after birth. I think most are probably letting it be for 3 minutes now. :)
I didn't know about cord blood for baby and timing issues, interesting.
When we were deciding 3 and 5 years ago, I found good reasons for and good reasons against and it seemed to be one of those personal-temperment-based decisions, kind of like deciding your tolerance for risk with your finances. The research we did said it's
- EXCEEDINGLY UNLIKELY that your child will become very sick (especially within the decade or so that the cord blood is in a quantity that can be useful), and also it's
- EXCEEDINGLY UNLIKELY that, if your child does become very sick, that the sickness is one cord blood can help with, even with projected advances, and finally
- Banking cord blood is EXPENSIVE.
That said, we chose to bank it anyway, for both kids. Not for rational reasons so much as we have thankfully some disposable income and we can't stand the thought of regretting not doing it - as EXCEEDINGLY UNLIKELY as its use may be.
We used Cryo-cell because some friends did. Seems fine - no particular arguments pro or con.