Monday, May 26, 2008

Cord Blood Donation

One of the trendy new medical-related things to do with babies is collecting the cord-blood. For a long time (before we looked into it) we have been planning on collecting and banking Emma's cord blood. Cord blood is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and happens to contain a very large proportion of stem cells. If you've followed the news over the last few years you know that controversy surrounds the use of stem-cells. Cells collected from the cord blood does not require embryos so cord blood is a great source that avoids the ethical complications of destroying embryos. The benefit of banking the cord blood is that if a future baby of ours has a blood related disorder such as leukemia, lymphoma, certain types of sickle cell anemia, and others, the banked cord blood from Emma would be a guaranteed match and could be used to potentially cure the disease. Clearly the upside is great. The downside to these programs is the cost. There is typically about a $2000 up front cost and $125 per year for every year after that (until you are done with the blood - ie. you stop having children). When learned about the cost we decided to look into alternatives. We found one in Cryobanks International. They allow the option of donating your cord blood to a public bank that can be used for people in need and research. I'm sure they make money on it, however, the chances of us using it is very, very slim. On the other hand, the chances of other people being able to use it are much higher and we definitely support research. The best part is, it doesn't cost anything (except for a collection fee charged by the doctor).

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