Sasha Bakhru Tells Parents: Should You Bank Your Child’s Stem Cells?

As recently as 2001, parents have been banking the stem cells of their children in the hopes that this practice might help guard against future risks. The procedure is expensive, and some doctors are now speculating that the costs far outweigh the benefits. Though the practice has become less controversial over the years, parents are none the less confused about whether to bank a child’s stem cells.

Cord Blood Banking

Umbillical cord blood has great potential for treating diseases of the immune systems, and in our blood. Expectant mothers contact blood banks during the 34th week of pregnancy, then the blood is donated. There are both public and private banks, but each has its own pros and cons. For example, a private bank may allow for families to retrieve the blood at will. Public banks accept donations, but use them for other patients.

Stem Cells

The applications of stem cells are wide, but their actual usage is fairly restricted. We’re not just talking about the legalities of stem cells. It’s only in rare cases that blood from an umbilical cord, or stem cells, can help out the same person those cells were taken from. As a result, parents who do bank their umbilical cords are encouraged to use public banks where the medical applications are wider reaching.

Transplant Risks

Using a sibling’s blood will often work in situations where a child is in need of  a cellular transplant. These cord samples do save lives, and the fact is that there aren’t enough to go around. If you are a parent considering donation, look up a public bank to see if there is a chance you can save a life while you create a new one.

Bio: This guest post was written on behalf of Sasha Bakhru. Sasha Bakhru is an engineering graduate who works with stem cells.