Becoming a parent for the first time is undoubtedly an exciting time for any individual. At the same time, it is also natural for first-time parents to be worried about the future. At this stage, it is important to do everything right for the overall wellbeing of the baby as well as the mother. Out of all these things, many parents are now interested in cord blood stem cell banking to safeguard the health of their children in the future.
It is true that the benefits of cord blood banking have brought about a paradigm shift in the delivery of healthcare. However, it is important for the parents to make an informed decision about banking their child’s stem cells by weighing the pros and cons.
Benefits of Cord Blood Banking:
The ever increasing popularity of cord blood banking can be attributed to its numerous benefits. Mentioned below are some of the most important benefits of this lifetime investment.
- Use of cord blood stem cells has already been approved for the treatment of over 80 diseases by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These diseases include various genetic, immune, metabolic, and blood disorders as well as different forms of blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia. Leading pediatricians around the world claim that cord blood transplant outcomes have improved significantly over the last decade or so as the clinicians and researchers have become more knowledgeable about cord blood dosing, choosing better matches, and providing better supportive care to patients.
- A large number of researchers are currently engaged in efforts to explore the use of cord blood for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. It is extremely likely that the full potential of these cells will be realized soon, thanks to the influx of new advances and information in regenerative medicine and stem cell-based treatments.
- Whenever there is a need, it is possible to access the matched stem cells by preserving them at a community stem cell bank. This helps avoid additional expenses and delays while finding a donor match.
- Parents can choose to preserve stem cells at a private or community bank for future use or donate them at a public bank. Moreover, parents also have the sole-decision making power as well as exclusive rights over the usage of stem cells.
- The procedure of cord blood cell collection is quite simple, and it takes just a few minutes after delivery. Once the cord is separated, the blood is collected using a needle. Most importantly, the procedure is safe and painless for both the baby and the mother.
- In addition to cord blood, the extraction of blood-forming stem cells can also be done from peripheral blood and bone marrow. However, the risk of infection, as well as rejection, is considerably lower for stem cells obtained from cord blood compared to the ones obtained from bone marrow.
Limitations of Cord Blood Banking:
In spite of so many benefits, there are some limitations to consider before opting for cord blood banking.
- There is a high probability that the preserved stem cells may never be required by the parents or their child.
- There are certain limitations with regard to medical conditions that can be treated using stem cells. For example, stem cells can’t be used for genetic conditions because the faulty gene is also carried by the stem cells. However, community stem cell banking can solve this problem.
- The high cost charged by private stem cell banks can be a concern for some parents. However, there are many cord blood banks offering affordable storage plans suitable for all budgets.
- Parents must choose their cord blood bank carefully because some of these facilities may discard preserved cord blood stem cells if the payment is not made on time.