Parents Guide: What it is & Why Consider it?
If you’re thinking about saving your baby’s cord blood, you probably have plenty of questions.
Which bank should you choose? Should you make the investment? Is it worth it? The fact is, cord blood stem cells are doing amazing things today. Used in the treatment of serious diseases, these cells are improving lives and helping families across the country.
#1 What is cord blood, and Why is it so special?
The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. It is usually discarded as medical waste. Cord blood contains precious stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies such as leukaemia, thalassemia and other blood diseases. For over 20 years, cord blood stem cells have been used in transplant medicine, the infusion of stem cells into patient’s bloodstream to regenerate blood tissue and the immune system. With emerging global research and clinical trials into regenerative medicine, new future uses of cord blood stem cells will be added on to the current 80 diseases that are treatable with these cells.
#2 The decision to save your baby’s stem cells is an important one. Why?
They are genetically unique to your baby and other family members. Banking them is a onetime opportunity at birth only as a kind of biological insurance cum investment for potential treatment possibilities.
#3 You have decisions to make. Should saving cord blood be one of them?
Today, cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, most of these diseases are genetic disorders and typically require a transplant. A sibling’s cord blood is often the best match for a transplant.
#4 Can your baby use his or her own cord blood?
Your baby can be treated using his or her own cord blood for a small number of nongenetic diseases like anaemia, bone marrow failure disorders and cancers. Leukaemia and lymphomas that develop later in life may also be treated with your own cord blood. There are a number of ongoing clinical trials to study treatments for diseases like cerebral palsy, type 1 diabetes and autism, which require the use of a child’s own cord blood.
Banking options for your baby’s cord:
PRIVATE OR PUBLIC CORD BANKING?
It is completely up to the parents as to whether they want to donate their cord blood for public use or store with a private bank for their family future needs. There is value in both options. It is important to explore and understand the difference between the public and private banking before making a decision.
In public cord blood banking, the baby’s cord blood is donated to a cord blood bank, where it’s stored for use by anyone who may need it for a transplant. It may also be used for medical research. When parents donate their baby’s cord blood, they sign away all rights to it and the cord-blood bank owns the blood — there’s no guarantee that the cord blood will later be available to the family should they need it in later years.
In private cord blood banking, parents pay to have their baby’s cord blood banked for his or her own use in the future or for use by a family member (like a parent or sibling). The family “owns” the cord blood and can make most key decisions about how it is used. Cost of private banking varies for the initial collection of the blood, followed by annual storage fee or for 20 years advance storage until the child reaches the adult age.
Finding a reliable cord blood bank is crucial.
Pricing should not be the key factor. If a cord blood bank doesn’t have high standards for handling, shipping, and storing cord blood, your baby’s cord blood might not be usable if you ever need it. And if a bank isn’t financially stable with a high degree of corporate governance, where and how your baby’s cord blood is stored long term could be affected. So begin your search early.
Ask yourself specific questions about the cord blood bank and once you have narrowed down your search, here are some important questions to note:
Does the cord blood bank meet all the medical requirements set by the medical board and is it fully accredited?
The Ministry of Health regulates and inspects cord blood banks nationally and regularly. All banks must comply with these federal regulations or be shut down.
Does the cord blood bank have clinical experience here in Malaysia?
Always consider the bank’s experience and success rate in releasing cord blood for transplants and other therapies.
Is the cord blood bank financially stable and transparent?
Ultimately, cord blood banking is a business. You should go with a bank that is reputable and financially sound to ensure that your baby’s cord blood future is safeguarded.
Should you need more information regarding to Cord Blood Banking, you can contact our partner at StemLife Berhad, the region's leading stem cell bank with over 50,000 families have trusted their precious baby's cord blood with them. They are internationally recognized and is the subsidiary to Cordlife Group in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philipines, China and Thailand.
24 Hour Careline 03-2166 3636
StemLife Berhad, B-7-15, Megan Avenue II,
12 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.