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stem cell collection - is it worth it?

(16 Posts)
miranda2 Tue 15-Feb-05 15:27:13

Just seen the ad for the 'future health' stem cell service at the top of the pregnancy topic page. Its something I've been thinking about vaguely; I asked about it when pg with ds (now 3.5), but was told 'we don't do that here' by the hospital. Now it seems you can get collection kits and sort it out yourself (though I don't know if the doctors or midwives would co-operate - I suppose they don't have to - must ask at antenatal visit to the hospital!)Its pricey thoug - about £1300. But then again, if it potentially saves your child from something then that is a small price to pay. I don't know. For all I know it doesn't even work! What do other people think? Has anyone done this?

jabberwocky Tue 15-Feb-05 15:35:48

We did it with ds. Shop around and see what you can find pricewise. Here in the states most private banks are about $1500 to get set up and then $100 per year. We found one that is publicly traded that was about half that to get set up. Things you want to look for would be that they store 1/2 the sample in one location and 1/2 in another. There are two ways of collection. I forget all the terms but I think we used the bag vs. syringe method (?). At the time I was told that the first method was much easier to do and we were more likely to get a good sample. Here's the way I thought about it, If we never have to use it then that means we have a healthy child and I will be thankful for that. If we did need it and didn't have it at that point I would give everything I had to get it but it would be impossible then since it's a one-shot deal. It does give me piece of mind just knowing it's there. There have been cases of cord blood being used years down the road and it worked just fine. We used Cryocell which I know you can't use from the UK but it's a site where maybe you could find some comparative information.

miranda2 Wed 16-Feb-05 11:31:48

Thanks! That was the lines I was thinking about. my dh raised the q of did they store it in two different places for safety - haven't seen this mentioned on any websites though. Anyone else?

bundle Wed 16-Feb-05 11:34:12

personally i think it's preying on parents' anxiety. i have a friend whose dd needs a bone marrow transplant and i tried to donate my cord blood but my hospital didn't do collections either. if more people donated freely in this way (and the system to collect it was up & running) then people wouldn't need to carry out this unnecessary (and profit-making for the companies involved)procedure. sorry for being a bit ranty, miranda, but i feel strongly about it.

miranda2 Wed 16-Feb-05 11:36:21

Quite agree bundle, when I asked last time I was had only vaguely heard about it and was thinking it would be something you donated (either for transplants or for research), like blood. I do wonder whether it is just preying on anxiety - and no idea what the odds are, which I don't like. On hte other hand...... I don't know.

triceratops Wed 16-Feb-05 11:37:25

Has anyone ever used the cord blood they stored? It sounds like a rip off to me, taking advantage of poor pregnant paranoid mums. Mind you if you have money to burn.........

bundle Wed 16-Feb-05 11:42:11

i don't know the figures, but i'd imagine the chances are millions to one that you'd use it, a bit like the lottery. my friend is now having a baby whose cord blood type will closely match her dd1, but i can't help but think that all of this could be prevented if cord blood was routinely collected. i was actually told that i'd need counselling if i donated it. ffs, it's chucked in the bin, isn't it, normally? do we get counselling for that??

janinlondon Wed 16-Feb-05 12:31:08

Don't know if this helps or hinders. I work in an antenatal department for a major London teaching hospital. Everyone who's had a baby here in the last three years has had the cord blood stored. (And none of us have had cheap deals, in case you were wondering!!!)

bundle Wed 16-Feb-05 12:35:28

it's the storing i can't see the point of. donating, yes.

miranda2 Wed 16-Feb-05 21:33:29

Thanks janinlondon, that's very interesting. I know I wouldn't hesitate for a minute if it was £100, so it is really the cost that is putting me off. But then I feel guilty that the cost shouldn't be an issue...
Mind you, I'm still not sure if the local hospital will actually do it. I'll have to put it on my list of things to ask at the visit, and maybe send off for one of the information packs.

katzguk Wed 16-Feb-05 21:40:43

i saw this ealier and meant to ask the general consensus at work, the person i share an office with works on cell research including stem cells, will ask her tomorrow and post what she thinks.

jabberwocky Thu 17-Feb-05 07:42:48

One other thing to think about is that the cord blood is a possible match for either parent and/or other children. So, it's conceivable that we might use it for myself or dh at some point.

SofiaAmes Fri 18-Feb-05 01:12:28

I am so angry at myself that I didn't do it with mine (though it may not have actually been available when ds was born). I would definitely do it if you can afford it.

geekgrrl Fri 18-Feb-05 07:00:20

my private midwife advised me that they were just taking advantage of people and that it is totally unnecessary in the UK as the NHS maintains/constantly adds to a stem cell bank. She said it might be useful in the US were everyone has to fight for themselves but here it is just pretty much a waste of money.

FairyMum Fri 18-Feb-05 07:08:03

I thought about it, but didn't do it for same reasons as geekgrrl and others mention. I don't feel comfortable with the fact that only really babies with rich enough parents can benefit from this (if there is a benefit). Medical treatment should be equal for all and not sold to us IMO.

hub2dee Fri 18-Feb-05 08:34:27

(Sorry, this is long)... Like so many things in life, I guess it boils down to your attitude to risk. The original poster states "if it potentially saves your child from something then that is a small price to pay"... padding your house from roof to front door in cotton wool has been shown to dramatically reduce risks of accidents in the home - but no one would suggest doing it (although it might feel pleasantly squishy and be rather nice).

Instead, most people weigh up the risks of injury and we maybe fit cupboard locks under the sink, stick in a fireguard, block plugs, put corner protectors on the coffee tables etc. We all know about the potential risk of mobile phones. How many of us would never bring one into the home without switching it off, or never talk on it for more than three minutes within three metres of any newborn etc. etc.

Instead, we weigh up the perceived (or reported) risks, and take a view about what we are prepared to do to alleviate the potential risk of a given incident.

Now with regards to cord-blood banking, I concede we are dealing with far more serious issues than a trapped finger, but I would suggest that the only way to evaluate the current benefit is to look at the specific figures for the UK / World:

1) How many babies per million live births have ever been given actual stem-cells (from private or public banks) or stem-cell derived products ? (and how would these numbers change if the public / private banks were larger)

2) How does (1) change when you factor in whether parents / siblings have chromosomal abnormalities or diseases which may derive benefit from stem-cell / derived products ? (ie. in reality, is it indicated for specific conditions rather than the general public)

I accept that scientific research may mean that cord blood could be used in different ways in the future, and that techniques may be refined from those used in the present day, but this applies to any aspect of our lives.

I would guess that the stats don't make a compelling case at all, but, just because it is a once-only 'now or never,' many parents will go for it. Personally, I expect it's a rip-off and was rather surprised when I saw this advertiser given prominence on MN.

I would welcome learning more about this, or exploring URLs of peer-reviewed studies supporting the utility of cord blood banking.

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