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Friday, May 27, 2005

one more thing to worry about

My second child is due to be born in early July. Now I'm wondering if I should have her cord blood stem cells collected and cryogenically stored in case she ever needs them. I only very recently learned about this procedure; I had no idea about it when our first child was born. It does not seem to be very commonly done, and our obgyns never mentioned it to us as far as I can recall.

Cord blood stem cells have been useful in treating childhood cancers, blood diseases and immune system disorders. These blood stem cells, harvested from an infant's umbilical cord, can be used instead of bone marrow transplants, with the significant advantage that a donor match is not necessary.

Some believe that future research may pave the way for using cord blood stem cells to cure other serious conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, etc.

There are downsides to the procedure, including obviously the cost of collection and storage, as well as potential health concerns related to the collection process.

Introductory information on cord blood banking can be found here and here. And here is an article from today's Science Daily about a new study reporting the use of cord blood stem cells to save infants with Krabbe disease. My wife and I need to decide soon - you only get one chance for each child! If anyone else has grappled with this decision please post a comment.

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