How do you make a decision that could potentially impact your child’s future? First time mom and early intervention therapist Aarti Arora Madarasmi grapples with this question: is cord blood worth it ?
As a first time mom, I want to do what’s best for my child. I want to go to the best doctor, purchase the most comfortable stroller, the safest car seat… the list goes on and on.
But where should I draw the line? With so much information at my fingertips, how do I filter the facts? When am I making good decisions and when am I victims of false marketing?
When stuck at crossroads while researching for my child, I try to remember 3 things:
- Always cross-check the source of the article
- Ask other mums who have to make similar decisions
- And most importantly, trust my gut feeling.
Recently, I’ve been doing tremendous research, going back and forth over one potentially big decision. Should I bank my baby’s cord blood or is it just a waste of time and money?
1. Ask yourself: what are the benefits?
For you to be considering something, it must have benefits. However, in this day and age with so many unsubstantiated claims, we have to make sure that these benefits are real.
In the case of cord blood, these are the newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta which contain stem cells. These can be used to treat diseases that harm the blood and immune system, such as leukemia. Scientists are still studying more ways to use cord blood to treat more diseases, like cerebral palsy or even autism.
2. How much does it cost?
New moms often end up spending way too much on their firstborn, mostly because we’re still figuring out what we’re doing. When making a decision, factor in the cost and whether or not you can actually afford it.
Cord blood can be retrieved painlessly from a newborn and stored at a private bank. However, storing at private banks can be very costly. Private banks charge approximately $1500 – $2500 for initial storage fee and an annual storage fee of $100 – $150.
3. Is it worth it?
After asking yourself the last two questions, you have determined if the benefits outweigh the costs or vice versa. But since there is no price tag on your child’s health, this can be easier said than done.
Since research in cord blood is still ongoing, there is so much we don’t know about it. Current research on cord blood has only reached its trial phase, so there are no definite conclusions on its benefits.
Furthermore, your child may never even need it. Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation estimates that there’s only 1 in 217 chance your child will need stem cell implants, unless he/she has a family history of leukaemia. However, if your child ever develops an autoimmune disease, cord blood proves to be a safe and positive treatment.
As you can see there are pros and cons of storing cord blood and the decision becomes impossible, especially for a first-time mom like me.
When I go to the hospital for my monthly checkups, I get representatives from private banks approach me with a brochure and it just makes me wonder if I am going to be a victim of false marketing as the research is still at its experimental phase or if it’s a decision I should be taking to secure my child’s future.
I am still undecided. I don’t want to make the wrong decision but I don’t want to waste my money either. There’s so much information out there and I urge you to read more and learn more as I plan to do the same. Know that you’re not alone in this matter. We as new moms are trying to make the right decision and at the end of the day sometimes just trying to do our best is the best thing we can do for our child.