25 October 2011

Cord blood banking

After the accident, I realised I need to move fast in terms of some remaining to-dos I had been thinking about and one particular to-do that is important to me is to volunteer to donate Joy Joy's cord blood.

When I was on the labour bed last week and the mid-wife asked me what I want in my labour, I mentioned to her that I want to donate Joy Joy's cord blood but she stopped for a while before informing me that its likely to be too late. To donate, you need to go through counselling and a very detailed interview to ascertain your suitablility plus they need to review your medical file to ensure that the cord blood is safe for the public bank, before the donation is possible.

The reasons that motivated me to donate are:

(1) Patients who have an immuological disorder can't use their own cord blood for transplant in times of need because the blood also contains the same genetic defect.

(2) Cord blood units collected may be too small in quantity even for transplantation by a child, much less an adult.

(3) The idea of using cord blood is hypothetical. You are banking on a hope that science will advance to an extent that your child may be able to use their stem cells for illnesses what your child might possibly have that could possibly be treated with stem cells transplantation.

(4) There are controvasies on ethical issues and whether, in the first place, commercial cord blood banking should be offered as an option. Cord blood banking is illegal in some countries.

(5) High costs of private banking (> $14k fir the initial year and $200++ for each year thereafter), although you can use your baby bonus to pay for it.

(6) If Joy Joy ever really need her own cord blood and it is still available in the public bank, she can use them for free. Siblings can use her cord blood for $2-3k as compared to $300k or more if you were to require other's cord blood from the public bank.

(7) With the same amount of money from the baby bonus / CDA plan, we can get a good health insurance plan for Joy Joy and enrol her to good / more expensive educational institutions before she reaches the age of 7years old.

I am not a medical professional and there are pro cord blood banking opinions but I base my decision on whether the research make sense to me.

I had an appointment with the Gynae and dietician last friday and took the chance to get the donation procedures / interview all done, just in case. It was not difficult / time consuming at all although they asked a lot of questions, first a prelimnary interview over the phone before scheduling a consultant who would counsel us in person and obtain my written consent (not sure why Daddy's isn't needed).

For now, we appear to qualify as cord blood doners and I am glad. Now it remains to be seen whether enough units of stem cells can be collected form Joy Joy's umbilical cord. And I would have to "donate" 3 tubes of my blood after birth as well. The above being said, they will get you to affirm your consent in the labour room. So, for whatever reason that may arise, I still have another chance to say I disagree to donate Joy Joy's cord blood.

Can't think of any at the moment except the idea of a Lotus Birth, which advocates the idea that blood from the placenta should be allowed to flow slowly to Baby and the umbilical cord only cut off when no more blood is present (usually in about 2-3 hours). It is supposedly a more peaceful transition for baby with some medical benefits. I'm still researching on this and i'll asked the next Gynae what they think about it before making a decision together with Daddy (who is likely to freak out I'm guessing). I've asked our previous private gynae about it but for some reason can't remember what her response was. All I remember was that she managed to convince me that Lotus Birth might not be beneficial to Joy Joy at all and could present risks of infection. Maybe I'll check with Daddy what he remembers..

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