Yesterday I spent six minutes and 42 seconds on the phone doing one small thing to try and ensure the best possible future for my unborn daughter: I arranged to have her cord blood banked when she’s born later this year.
At nearly $2,000 (a reduced price since it’s our second time with the same company), it wasn’t an easy choice to make, as that’s a lot of money to our family. But we did it with our first daughter, also after struggling to make the choice and save the money. So before I was even pregnant this time we started saving to ensure we could do it again.
The first time I was pregnant I was given brochures by my doctor’s office, hospital and birthing class teacher about whether to bank cord blood at birth. It seems there is no shortage of debate on the topic.
I don’t think anyone will argue that banking cord blood stem cells could potentially be of some benefit to the child to which they belong at some point in the future. The debate seems to be how much of a chance there is that the child will ever need the cord blood, and if it could be better off donated to a public bank where it’s more likely to be used by someone else in need.
There are so many decisions pregnant women and their partners face over the course of nine months (even longer if you take into consideration the amount of time some couples spend planning a pregnancy), and when my husband and I were hit with this one, we went back and forth on it for a while.
Ultimately we decided it was like taking out an insurance policy that we hope and pray to never need, but we never wanted to look back with regret that there might have been something more we could have done for our daughter(s). Cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells, which have been used to treat many life-threatening diseases as well as to induce healing, regenerate cells and repair tissues. The research on cord blood continues to expand rapidly, and there’s no doubt in a few years there will be even more uses for it, including the treatment of such ailments as traumatic brain injury, juvenile diabetes and cerebral palsy.
There are plenty of doctors, researchers and medical professional who will say, however, that public banks are the way to go and that private banks simply prey on the fears of new parents. We might be those people, but knowing there are some uses for our children’s cord blood that can potentially and specifically benefit each of them helps us rest just a little bit easier each night. But our greatest nights’ sleep come from knowing the chances are slim they’ll never need to use the cord blood at all.
How do you feel about banking cord blood?