Deciding on Stem Cell Cord Blood Banking?
As you come across the private banks reaching out to you for giving your child a biological insurance by banking their embryonic stem cells, it is a big decision that you can make only once for your child.
As you enter that stage and looking for pointers on whether or not to do stem cell preservation for your child, we try to provide some data points that may help you in the process of decision making and take a really informed decision and not just an emotional one.
Already made up your mind on this? You may want to know the different available plans for stem cell banking in the market today. Here is a link to the same
Not made up your mind yet? Read on.
What is available in the market today? Most companies offer Cord Blood banking meaning they can preserve and provide samples of stem cells coming from Blood. Cord Tissue which is the set of stem cells coming from Umbilical cord, is optional in most cases and an add on as Replication of Cord tissue to create organs is right now more a subject of research and Govt. regulations on this matter are unclear.
What this means is diseases pertaining to Blood e.g. Thalassemia, Blood Cancer (ALL, AML) etc. are more in the range of what is curable through Stem Cell as a mode of treatment as of today. Most other diseases are still in clinical trial stages and need more research , Govt. approvals etc. but progressing nonetheless.
Is there any family history of rare haematic disorders in the family? If yes, it makes a strong case for you to consider cord blood banking for all of your kids to ensure a higher match sample being available at the time of need. So its good to know your family history of diseases before deciding on Stem cell banking.
Is Stem Cell Banking sufficient for one child?
The research suggests that uses of stem cells for self is really low. Most conditions potentially treated by a patient’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells already exist in his or her own cells and, therefore, the stored stem cells may not be used to treat the same individual. So the stem cells you preserve of one baby may actually be used by the other one or larger family or community rather than the baby herself. So if you see stem cell preservation as an insurance than you may want to do it for more than one child.
Avg. stem cell banking Cost– INR 40,000 to 70,000 per child with comfortable annual or monthly installment options for private/family banks. Storage is free of cost for public banks. Public Banks charge on usage.
Should I preserve my Baby's stem cells with private or public banks? - Preserving your stem cell with Public banks is equivalent to organ or blood donation. It increases the chance of it being actually used but there is no assurance that the same may be available for your own use. Storing your sample with Public Banks gives you access to a larger pool of samples should you need the same. Public Banks typically do not charge you for storage, but for usage. Public banks in India are - Jeevan, Reliance, Stemcyte. Lifecell also offers Community Banking where the samples stored with Lifecell act as one large pool available to all the Parents. It is like a mid way between Public and Private banking.
Preserving cord blood sample with private bank keeps it safe for your own family use when needed. The usage of stem cells for diseases allowing Autologous treatment (where your own sample is usable) though are few today with many more in clinical trial stage.
Another model of Banking is called Hybrid banking where your sample is stored privately, but if there is an issue with your own sample at the time of usage, the company gives access to a broader pool of samples based on their tie-ups.
How should I choose my stem cell banking partner? Some aspects to watch out for while choosing banking partner,
- Company past record - the number of samples processed per year, samples actually used in their History etc.
- The financial record of the company – to ensure they don’t go bankrupt anytime soon.
- The Number of saving facilities to ensure sample back-up in case of power failure or natural disasters
- The Process used for sample collection, processing and storage
- The tie-ups with other international banks in case you need to draw samples from them.
- Their sample saving period etc.
- Sometimes, Hospital where you plan to deliver also has tie-ups or additional fee for certain Stemcell banking partner. You may want to find out your Hospital's tie-ups etc. too before finally deciding.
To know the details on available Stem cell plans in the market and compare different plans, click here