If you’ve given birth to a baby, adopted a baby, parented a baby, or just been in close proximity to a baby in the past several years, you’ve likely seen dozens of pamphlets urging you to bank your baby’s cord blood. This blood could one day save your baby’s life, the literature tells you, and isn’t $5,000 or more a small price to pay for that?
These companies, which usually charge $1,500 to $2,000 for collection and $100 to $200 each year for stoarge, prey on young parents’ fears about their fragile baby’s future health. And it does seem like a small price to pay to save your baby’s life. But will it really save your baby’s life?
Finally, the experts weigh in. Lisa Belkin in The New York Times column Motherlode writes about a study reported in this month’s Pediatrics that concluded, as Belkin writes, “that you’d be better off spending your money on onesies.”
The study, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Insistute, found that the odds that your child will actually need her banked cord blood are very small. If a child does need a blood cell transplant, her own cord blood often can’t be used because it would contain the same disease the child is fighting. In those cases, a sibling donor is a better candidate.
Of the thousands of cases of blood cell transfusions reported in the study, only nine used cord blood that was privately (and fortuitously) banked. 36 other cases used privately banked cord blood, but in those cases it was due to a known condition that might require the transfusion at some point.
“Families need to balance the high cost of banking such blood against the remote odds of its ever being needed,” said Dr. Joffe, a pediatric oncologist and senior author of the study. “My personal view and what I think drives the respondents to our survey, is that it’s not worth the cost.”
Instead of private cord blood banking, the study recommends donating to a public bank. However, these banks are few and far between, and donors must deliver at certain participating hospitals.
Did you bank your child’s cord blood? Is $5,000 to $10,000 a small price to pay if your child turns out to be one of the few who can actually use the banked blood?
Photo: The Family Groove
- I’m Not a Brat, I’m Autistic
- 13-year-old Conservative Addresses Convention
- Airlines Consider Charging for Toilets
- Everyone Lies
- Vaccine Debate Far From Over