Banking

A colleague forwarded me a link today to a blog post on Boston.com about cord blood banking. I found it very interesting, as this is a topic of particular concern to me.

Rob and I spent a great deal of time, when we were pregnant with Robby, debating the pros and cons of banking of his cord blood. We researched the topic and spoke with the medical professionals. We got mixed responses. The use of cord blood for the treatment of illness is new and still-to-be-proven, and since it can be expensive, many professionals are unwilling to advise patients to commit to it.

For those who are knew to this topic, you can find helpful resources online. Additionally, according to pediatrics.about.com, “…umbilical cord blood stem cells can be used in transplants to treat a variety of pediatric disorders including leukemia, sickle cell disease, and metabolic disorders. Patients who need a cord blood transplant can currently try to find a match with a sibling or from an unrelated person. An autologous (self) transplant can also be done if a child’s umbilical cord blood has been stored in a private cord blood bank….”

For us, knowing that our child would have a medical history that included several different types of cancer, in the end, we decided to pursue private cord blood banking. For me, it’s a lot like car insurance: you really hope you never need to use it, but it’s good to have when something goes wrong. And, what if something happened? Knowing that we could have done something–and didn’t–would kill me. I’d rather spend the money on this than on eating out or new toys for the kids.

Perhaps the most compelling argument for me is the story of one of my dear friends who is a three-time survivor of leukemia. She’s alive today because of an unrelated and unknown donor, who twice gave his bone marrow to her. He’s a generous and kind man who helped her because he believed it was the right thing to do. Not all people who battle cancer and other similar diseases have that kind of a guardian angel.

So, as a mom and as the daughter of both a cancer survivor (go Mom!) and a lovely man who fought valiantly but lost his battle against cancer, the option to bank my baby’s cord blood was too important for me to turn down. I know for everyone this is not the way to go, and I know some medical professionals advise against it. And, most of all, I hope we’ll never have to use it.