I’m sure most of you have seen the heart-wrenching commercials showing a precious young life being saved by the miracle of cord blood. (I’m going to assume that you know what cord blood is for this post, and if you don’t, encourage you to read this quick definition.)
Between those commercials and the few pamphlets I’ve received in the mail, this is what I believed cord blood banking to be: Simply put, I would pay a fee to have a company store the blood from my child’s umbilical cord to be used in the event that child or a sibling develop a life threatening disease. The cord blood could potentially cure the disease and my child. Did you know that is partially, if not mostly, untrue?
Let me go back a step and first talk about the two different types of banking. The first is public banking which is free, and is simply a donation you are making for someone in need to use in the future. Private banking costs thousands of dollars and is stored for only your families use. So just learning about CB, public banking sounds great but isn’t what I’m wanting. I’m wanting the miracle blood that I can keep for my child if he needs it, which would be private banking.
I knew this was something we were very interested in, and finally took the time to dig a little deeper and learn more. I could not believe when I found out that if I were to bank Brady’s CB and at age 4 he develops leukemia, he would not be able to use his own CB. CB is not for the donator since the stem cells would genetically carry the same disease. His potential siblings could possibly use it though – with only a 25% chance of a match, that is. If something should happen to our baby that cord blood could assist with, the best option would be to go to a public bank where we would have a 75% chance of finding a match. Much higher odds than with a sibling’s CB.
So why in the world would people spend the money for private banking when the chances that they will be able to use it at all is so slim? Why not donate the blood for free and let your healthy CB save another life? The first reason is if your family has a history of disease that could be treated with CB. The second reason is in hopes that research will eventually lead us to more options and that the blood could have greater use for the child as an adult.
I was completely shocked that my whole concept of cord blood was wrong. This is why, like everything else, its so important to read before making decisions and assumptions. As pregnant women we especially get sucked into concepts that will make our baby safer, healthier, smarter. Not to say that many of them don’t, but we should all be making sure that the information being shoved in our face is the full picture, not just the part that makes us feel guilty.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.