Author Topic: Saving umbilical cord blood  (Read 9635 times)

whybe

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Saving umbilical cord blood
« on: November 06, 2015, 11:07:20 PM »
So,
DW and I have started talking about saving umbilical cord blood from our first child's birth in a few months.

Wondering if anyone had insights into the money side of this... I guess this is some kind of insurance that's paid all in one go, but wanted to know if anyone had any strong arguments against the procedure. Not ethical or religious arguments, more of the impersonal, rational sort of argument I have grown to expect from the forum... :-) I just want to know how  we can make the best decision on the matter.

BTW  we are not US / Canada residents. Procedure is supposed to cost us the equivalent of 1 month of my salary in total. We might get some of it back through DW's insurance.

obstinate

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2015, 11:10:30 PM »
We talked about this with our doc beforehand. Basically, she told us that umbilical cord blood has never saved a life. Cord blood has only been transplanted 14 times in the history of ever. All of the treatments it might use are speculative -- not proven by any kind of rigorous study. And it would have been a significant out of pocket expense.

"Physicians should be aware of the unsubstantiated claims of private cord blood banks made to future parents that promise to insure infants or family members against serious illnesses in the future by use of the stem cells contained in cord blood;"[5]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cord_blood
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 11:13:01 PM by obstinate »

Chrissy

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2015, 12:19:40 AM »
We've decided to delay cord-cutting so that our daughter gets the blood, instead of saving it.  Husband decided the saving craze was a scam.

2Cent

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2015, 12:55:32 AM »
Actually taking the blood introduces a risk to your baby as he/she is deprived of blood that would otherwise go into him/her. It's like taking a relatively sizable amount of blood from your baby at one of the most vulnerable moments. I would say, like Chrissy just let the baby get his or her blood.

Don't let the safety and health marketeers fill your head with fears. Else you'll be spending thousands on useless precautions that reduce risks that where extremely small to begin with.

justajane

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 06:20:38 AM »
All three times, we donated it for research. We signed some papers in the hospital and the OB took it and put it in some sort of bag that was taken away. I have never heard that you needed to give it back to your baby.

It's too expensive to bank it for your own use.

Yankuba

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 08:56:25 AM »
We talked about this with our doc beforehand. Basically, she told us that umbilical cord blood has never saved a life. Cord blood has only been transplanted 14 times in the history of ever. All of the treatments it might use are speculative -- not proven by any kind of rigorous study. And it would have been a significant out of pocket expense

+1

We asked the OBGYN doctors at the large and busy practice if any parents ever recalled banked blood and they said "no." Ultimately we went with the public bank for our first child but it turns out there was a twist or tear in the cord and they were unable to get a sample so it was moot. Friends went with private banking and the sample was destroyed in transit.

For the second child we let the baby keep the blood - which was the consensus here when I asked about it.

TomTX

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 05:32:08 PM »
Scam. If your baby has some genetic defect that requires stem cells, the ones in THEIR cord blood will have the same defect.

Besides, that blood is supposed to go into the baby. "Delayed" clamping is what was standard practice for thousands of years until "modern" docs got into a race about 50-60 years ago with no basis whatsoever. Fast clamping is unscientific bullshit that causes anemia, but standard practice in most places.

justajane

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 05:53:27 PM »
Scam. If your baby has some genetic defect that requires stem cells, the ones in THEIR cord blood will have the same defect.

I thought the reasoning was just as much for the potential use for other biological children who might need it. But I haven't explored the issue that intensely.

NextTime

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2015, 12:22:14 PM »
I've never heard of any of this.

How do I know if my child "got" the blood from their umbilical cord?

FLBiker

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 12:29:41 PM »
We (briefly) thought about this (along with eating dehydrated placenta) but opted not to once we looked into it a bit more.

Like Chrissy mentioned, we opted to delay cord clamping.  On the day, though, this ended up not happening because DD's heart rate had slowed dramatically so there was a bit more urgency.  Everything turned out great, though!

GuitarStv

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 12:36:10 PM »
It seemed pretty scammy to me when it was explained.  I think it's a waste of money.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2015, 12:43:06 PM »
I also had opted to delay cord clamping--then I wound up in the OR with a mec baby. They cut that cord as soon as possible and whisked him away before I even got a look at him.

Agree that it is not a really useful procedure. Save your money.

catccc

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 01:41:20 PM »
We researched and skipped it, for several reasons.  Instead, we donated the cord blood and placenta for research.  Here's why we didn't do it:
1) Cost.  It is expensive, there's an upfront cost and then a recurring storage cost
2) Slim likelihood of use.
3) Philosophical reasons (?)  I'm not sure how to best describe this.  It's a bit weird to have people with the resources dumping their funds into this kind of thing.  There are public cord blood banks around, and with the low likelihood of personal use, it is far more utilitarian to share cord blood with someone who might actually need it.  In fact, I have read that in other countries, private cord blood banking is illegal for this type of reason.  Can you imagine if those that donated blood instead banked it for themselves, in case they needed it? 

We were able to delay cutting the cord and still donate for our 2nd.  With our 1st, there were minor complications.  IDK exactly what happened, but the placenta was in some state unfit for donation.

We would have donated to a public cord blood bank, but not all birth places have this option.  Most hospitals do.  We were at a freestanding birth center, and our reasons for being there trumped the ability to donate cord blood for banking, so we went with the donate to research route.

Best of luck with your little one!

jeromedawg

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 01:53:16 PM »
LOL, I think we unknowingly signed up for getting more information (telemarketing/sales calls) before our son was born recently. Literally the first two weeks, we'd get VMs on our answering machine about saving cord blod banks, etc. It was the same guy who would call too. After the 5th or 6th time, he sounded unenthusiastic and totally not into it with his efforts to convince us to call him back... hahahahaha

TomTX

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 06:35:26 PM »
I've never heard of any of this.

How do I know if my child "got" the blood from their umbilical cord?

Did the OB or midwife wait a couple of minutes after the birth before clamping/tying off? Or did they treat it like some OMG DO NOW thing?

TomTX

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 06:37:39 PM »
Scam. If your baby has some genetic defect that requires stem cells, the ones in THEIR cord blood will have the same defect.

I thought the reasoning was just as much for the potential use for other biological children who might need it. But I haven't explored the issue that intensely.

That is a possible use, but really sounds like a long shot.

3 different companies wanted us to (pay to) bank and were affiliated with the hospital. All of them claimed to bank donated cord blood for free. However, when I asked around there were never any of the kits for donation available, only the for-pay kits.

James

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2015, 07:09:11 PM »
As a medical professional who has looked at all the information, my suggestion would be to skip the banking and not worry about it in any way.

Guesl982374

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2015, 07:01:51 AM »
Scam. If your baby has some genetic defect that requires stem cells, the ones in THEIR cord blood will have the same defect.

This is what killed it for my wife and I. It would have only had a 25% chance of helping the second kid if the second kid had the genetic defect AND was a match with the sibling. Then I looked up the list of genetic diseases that it could potential cure and looked up the statistics on how many cases a year per each disease and it was significantly low. Do your own research but we came to the conclusion that for $3-10K it wasn't worth it at all. We then thought about donating them but the trade off between more blood for the baby vs. cutting early swung us to "do nothing" and give our baby the best chances.

Do your own research but when I went through the numbers it was a lot of money for very little statistical benefit. I cam to the conclusion that it was a pricy luxury/scam to sell peace of mind to affluent parents to be at a very small incremental benefit.

Ceridwen

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2015, 07:09:51 AM »
I don't think it's a total scam, but I do think that the chances of your baby or someone in your family actually getting to benefit from it are incredibly slim and it is absolutely not worth the expense. 

In Quebec we have a public cord blood bank.  I couldn't donate mine for different reasons with both of my pregnancies, but had it been possible this would have been the route I'd have taken.

NextTime

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2015, 08:20:47 AM »
I've never heard of any of this.

How do I know if my child "got" the blood from their umbilical cord?

Did the OB or midwife wait a couple of minutes after the birth before clamping/tying off? Or did they treat it like some OMG DO NOW thing?


I don't really remember. I don't think it was an OMG DO NOW thing, but I'm not sure it was a couple of minutes either.

I do remember the nurses were quite rough with the toweling off process. I felt bad for the little guy.

marty998

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2015, 01:39:53 PM »
I've never heard of any of this.

How do I know if my child "got" the blood from their umbilical cord?

You just let it 'drain' into the baby from the placenta - the placenta is filled with nutrient rich blood, it seems a waste to not make as much use of it as you can.

It's all a bit icky, so it's understandable many would just want to cut the cord and have it all cleaned up pretty quickly too.

Syonyk

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2015, 11:02:25 PM »
We've decided to delay cord-cutting so that our daughter gets the blood, instead of saving it.  Husband decided the saving craze was a scam.

^^ This.

If the cord is purple and throbbing, wait.  Once it's white, clamp & cut.

That's a bunch of blood that's supposed to get into the baby.

James

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2015, 09:36:39 AM »
We had two kids at home (first was born at the hospital), and one nice thing was our ability to simply control things like when the cord is clamped and cut. It's amazing how things slow down and don't seem in such a hurry when you are in the comfort of your own home. The midwife wasn't going anywhere, she was in no hurry either. Not to say that we waited a long time, just that we clamped and cut whenever the hell we wanted. Home birth or birthing centers are a great alternative for those who want it.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2015, 10:49:24 AM »
I do remember the nurses were quite rough with the toweling off process. I felt bad for the little guy.

Vernix is like trying to rub the wax off an apple. Just an FYI. And stimulation like that improves respiratory effort. Usually, we're not being mean when we do stuff like that =) Some nurses just don't have the inclination/time/perspective to explain what they're doing all the time.

flan

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2015, 11:07:43 AM »
In case you wanted a solid source to weigh benefits and risks, here's a statement from the American Congress of OB/GYNs that's intended to guide OB/GYNs in how to talk about cord blood banking with patients (you).

honeybbq

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2015, 11:09:31 AM »
All three times, we donated it for research.

We did this too.

AgentCooper

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2015, 12:13:00 PM »
When at a doctor's office, I have strong feelings about purchasing anything that is featured on fancy brochures in the waiting room.  Special brochures with their own dedicated stand fairly scream to me: "This procedure makes a lot of money for somebody!" 

We have 4 kids and we saw the brochure while waiting for the first OB appointment.  We considered this major purchase for about as long as it took me to type this sentence.

But we're unusual, as patients... I'll share these details here, as I see them as having Mustachian values, and in our case, our doctor certainly didn't present these procedures as optional:
  • We opted out of that thing where the doctor jams a needle in the amniotic sac to test for certain defects/anomalies, most of which they couldn't possibly do anything about until birth anyway. 
  • We also rejected the second round of ultrasounds, as costly and unnecessary, when the only rationale the doc could offer for doing them again was that it would let us know about any hairlip condition, so that we as parents would "not be surprised" and the staff would be "ready for it" when the baby was born. 
  • We also rejected, over the doctor's strident insistence, that we schedule a date for the baby to be born.  We assured her - with each of the 4 kids - that we would have the hospital phone her when we arrived, already in labor.  We are very opposed to the idea of scheduling the birth based on the doctor's convenience.  This is a "fight" with the OB every time, as they have an obscenely high rate of C-sections these days.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 12:16:22 PM by AgentCooper »

Syonyk

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2015, 01:32:10 PM »
^ Things like that make me very happy that we went with a birth center.

"If the baby is still hanging out 2 weeks past the due date, then we'll consider scheduling something for inducing labor.  Otherwise?  She'll come when she's ready!"

James

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2015, 01:43:34 PM »
I do remember the nurses were quite rough with the toweling off process. I felt bad for the little guy.

Vernix is like trying to rub the wax off an apple. Just an FYI. And stimulation like that improves respiratory effort. Usually, we're not being mean when we do stuff like that =) Some nurses just don't have the inclination/time/perspective to explain what they're doing all the time.

Except that unlike an apple, you aren't going to eat the baby, so you don't need to rub that vernix off... :)  Just rub it into the baby over time.

There is certainly times we rough up the baby to stimulate breathing. I've flicked feet, rubbed backs, and lifted slightly on their little arms and released to make them gasp like they are falling. But too many nurses sit there rubbing away all the vernix trying to make the baby look clean and beautiful for the mother, when they should leave all that wonderful crap on to protect that newborn baby skin which is only now exposed to air. Some nurses and doctors are great, telling mothers to rub in the vernix, but others drive me crazy with incessant rubbing and prodding of babies that are doing just fine on their own. And I get it, I've been there, we all feel the need to be doing something... but sometimes that something is just waiting and being there to watch out for complications.

/soapbox  Don't mean to imply you do anything wrong Bracken_Joy, just a pet peeve I needed to get off my chest... :)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2015, 02:30:34 PM »
I do remember the nurses were quite rough with the toweling off process. I felt bad for the little guy.

Vernix is like trying to rub the wax off an apple. Just an FYI. And stimulation like that improves respiratory effort. Usually, we're not being mean when we do stuff like that =) Some nurses just don't have the inclination/time/perspective to explain what they're doing all the time.

Except that unlike an apple, you aren't going to eat the baby, so you don't need to rub that vernix off... :)  Just rub it into the baby over time.

There is certainly times we rough up the baby to stimulate breathing. I've flicked feet, rubbed backs, and lifted slightly on their little arms and released to make them gasp like they are falling. But too many nurses sit there rubbing away all the vernix trying to make the baby look clean and beautiful for the mother, when they should leave all that wonderful crap on to protect that newborn baby skin which is only now exposed to air. Some nurses and doctors are great, telling mothers to rub in the vernix, but others drive me crazy with incessant rubbing and prodding of babies that are doing just fine on their own. And I get it, I've been there, we all feel the need to be doing something... but sometimes that something is just waiting and being there to watch out for complications.

/soapbox  Don't mean to imply you do anything wrong Bracken_Joy, just a pet peeve I needed to get off my chest... :)

Not going to offend me, that was nursing school and I decided not to go into OB after that rotation! I'm actually firmly in the pro-vernix camp, but I would probably be categorized as a "hippy", so that should not be a surprise. At least where I was placed, most OB nurses were firmly in the "medical birth" camp. Which isn't to say what they are doing didn't have reason behind it... just that it's probably more 'medical tradition/do something' vs actually having good research behind it. I absolutely love evidence-based practice, and it was a sad realization that most healthcare professionals are not nearly as excited as I am about research findings.

PS- when I saw you typed "flicked feet" I at first read "licked feet" and I was like, wow, he is DEDICATED.

James

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2015, 03:04:28 PM »
PS- when I saw you typed "flicked feet" I at first read "licked feet" and I was like, wow, he is DEDICATED.


LOL No... not that dedicated... :D


Yep, I agree about lack of evidenced based medicine, hopefully things will improve in that regard but not holding my breath. :)

justajane

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2015, 03:27:41 PM »
^ Things like that make me very happy that we went with a birth center.

"If the baby is still hanging out 2 weeks past the due date, then we'll consider scheduling something for inducing labor.  Otherwise?  She'll come when she's ready!"

Induction is a hotly contested subject. As someone who had three kids who never wanted to leave my womb, I read a lot about this issue. I found this website pretty helpful: http://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-on-inducing-labor-for-going-past-your-due-date/

My final conclusion was that 41 weeks is okay (if you've gotten a pretty accurate early ultrasound), but 42 is getting into the murky territory when you really have to start worrying about infection, low fluids and potential meconium aspiration. At the least, I would get almost daily nonstress tests after 41 weeks. 

muckety_muck

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2015, 05:42:29 PM »
We've decided to delay cord-cutting so that our daughter gets the blood, instead of saving it.  Husband decided the saving craze was a scam.

Ditto here. So far, so good x 2 kids!

Another thing... when we had our first, we weren't sure about having a second kid. What our research told us AT THE TIME (not sure if it has changed now?) was that the stem cells from child #1 would benefit child #2. but if there is no child #2, there's not a lot of treatment options for #1 to use their own cord blood. Not sure if I'm wording that right, but something to note if you only plan to have 1.

whybe

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2015, 01:04:47 AM »
thanks all for the info and links... very helpful in explaining this stuff to me. it does sound like a money milking machine from uneducated, uninformed, panicking parents such as myself :)

milliemchi

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Re: Saving umbilical cord blood
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2015, 11:38:06 AM »
We made sure to bank the cord blood for our daughter, and later, when that became available, to bank both the cord blood and cord tissue for our son (at double the storage price, natch). The reason is that the blood and the tissue host different types of stem cells, which can differentiate into different tissues later on.

The chances of the baby using the stem cells for themselves within the initial 18-year storage period are infinitesimally low, and we were aware of that. However, working in research, I was aware of studies where stem cells were being used to repair the heart muscle following a heart attack. Extrapolating from that, with full confidence in research and development, we banked all we could bank. Since then, stem cells have been used to grow certain replacement organs for animals, and for humans too. Using the patient's own cells eliminates the need for immune-suppressant drugs. Much more is surely to come, and I didn't want my kids to miss out on the access to life-saving technology (e.g., replacement kidneys, livers, hearts, also cartilage... most people will need some of those in their lifetime) over those initial $3-6000.

There are two caveats to this. First, your kids are not likely to need their cells for many decades.  During that time, storage fees need to be paid.  The price is only guaranteed for the first 18 years, and after that, the company may charge what they want. The samples may not hold up over time, and you would never know. The technology might change in a way that makes the preparation process used today obsolete. The company might go out of business. Aliens might invade. Etc. Second, and more to the point, we are already at the point where needed stem cells can be harvested from adult tissue, at least for some purposes. This was not the case when we first banked. It is very likely that many decades from now, there would be no need for the banked cells and tissue, and banking will turn out to have been a big waste of money.  Technology is amazing.  I might still be willing to put up a few thousands as insurance in case banked tissue is actually needed for something.  Eighteen years from now, when these contracts come up for renewal, we'll know more and can make decisions accordingly.