Makes me smile when my husband emails me articles from the newspapers about things that I'm so passionate about!
This one is about people spending thousands of dollars (upwards of $3,000 - $5,000) to store their childs cord blood (stem cells) and cord tissue for possible future use.
From what I have read, the only current use for cord blood stem cells is to treat some forms of leukaemia, with other forms of leukaemia being treated and indicating better outcomes from cord blood donated via the public cord blood bank (this can improve the control of the disease if it is not from the host).
Cord blood tissue is being banked for regenerative medicine (whereby therapies are being developed - not yet available) for previously untreatable diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, osteoporosis, and spinal cord injuries. So you can bank your cord tissue and pay a small fortune, but there are no uses for it yet.
Makes me cringe when I read that the cord must be clamped and cut as soon as the baby is born, and that the cord blood collected is blood that would routinely be thrown out! Almost all of my clients opt for delayed cord clamping (and I mean 5 - 60 minutes) so there is no way the blood is going to be thrown out.
The choice to give you child the best start to life is by giving them what is rightly theirs - all their blood. When a baby is born their blood is still circulating between their tiny pink body and their juicy fat placenta still inside their mammas belly. With a tiny newborn having around 300ml of blood circulating through their system when they are born, there is still about 100ml of this blood moving through the placenta and umbilical cord. That's 1/3 of their entire blood supply just gone if the cord is clamped at birth. Clamping and cutting the cord immediately after birth deprives these little bodies of stem cells, oxygen, nutrients, and the facility which is helping all their organs function.
Apparently it takes about 3 minutes to collect the cord blood, and according to one private blood bank, "does not alter the birthing process in any way". Hmmm, I'd have to say firstly having another stranger in the room waiting for you to birth your baby would be a little uncomfortable, and secondly it absolutely alters the birthing process in SO many ways. Rushing those first moments when a newborn is birthed and lifted up onto its mothers chest, having another pair of gloved hands handling the newborn, forcing the baby's organs to kick in when they just may not be ready, not allowing a woman to choose a natural third stage of labour (birthing the placenta without drugs), and the list goes on...
Why would parents not opt for a healthy baby at birth with a body full of everything it was intended to have, rather than a body fighting from the first second to regenerate extra cells to replenish the ones his parents decided to "hold on to" just in case he needed them in the future. I'd like to think there will be the medical technology in future years to not warrant the need for cord blood banking. Time will only tell.
Read the article from The Age here.