22 weeks and cord blood banking

Today I made the trip into the “big city” for my 22 week check up with the high-risk OB. It was short and sweet. Everything looks good, I didn’t get lost, not even on the way out of town, and I got to hear the heartbeat again. What more could I ask for?

I did ask the doctor about cord blood banking today. I was surprised by his response. He doesn’t really think it is necessary. He says there are lots of ways to get stem cells these days besides from the cord blood, and, so far, they can only just delay the onset of full-blown diabetes with cord blood cells for a year or two.

I have done quite a bit of research into the issue, but I am still unsure of the best course of action. Because of the underlying autoimmune condition in Type 1, it seems like being able to make beta cells from stem cells is only half of the battle. Until someone figures out how to stop the autoimmune response and those nasty T-cells, those replacement beta cells are doomed to the same fate as our original beta cells. I am hopeful that researchers like Dr. Faustman are onto something, but I’ve kind of given up on the whole “cure in my lifetime” idea.

What if I am selling my baby short, though? My emotional, pregnant mind asks, what if I give this stupid disease to him and then they do figure out a way to cure it with cord blood, and I was too much of a cheap-skate to save his blood for him? I guess it’s this sense of anguish and guilt that the cord blood banks are “banking on” when they try to convince us to pay them an arm and a leg to save our cord blood for us.

My doctor was also quite critical of the salespeople who try to bribe him into convincing his patients to use their bank with free trips to tropical locations. Pretty disgusting, no? Given the exorbitant rates the banks are charging to store the cells, and their crass sales techniques, he basically thinks it’s a rip-off. He said he did not bank his own children’s stem cells, but I did not ask what their genetic risks are, so I am not sure how comforting that is.

Nevertheless, he said he would gather some reputable information on the process and the banks for me so that my husband and I can make an informed decision. On the plus side, he says it is easy to collect the cells, and he does not charge anything to do it.

For those of you who have already been here and done this, did you bank your baby’s cord blood? Which bank did you choose and why? If you prefer not to post in the comments, please e-mail me at nici [dot] blog [at] gmail [dot] com. I sure would appreciate your thoughts on the issue!

In other news, the ophthalmologist appointment last week was also super easy. The worst part was the blinding drive home in the snow. The doctor says my retinas are beautiful and that he would not know I was “sweet” if I did not tell him. That was music to my ears. I have to see him again in May for a second check.

Next on the agenda: an appointment with the Endo on Friday, another appointment with the High-risk OB in two weeks and an ultrasound in four weeks.

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6 Comments on “22 weeks and cord blood banking”

  1. Cara Bauer Says:

    I’ve got 3 kids and I did not bank any of their cord blood. I didn’t find it necessary. I did, however, donate it for research. I do like my odds on my children developing diabetes. I was willing to take the risk.

  2. Jaclyn's Mom Says:

    I wish that saving Jaclyn’s cord blood could have been a choice for us. When she was born in 1995, that wasn’t an available option. If it had been, and I had known that type 1 was coming 8 years later, I would definitely done it. ( Hindsight IS 20/20). I encourage all new parents to do it. I think our children are worth the cost of doing it. There are many other diseases that it can benefit.

  3. Carola Says:

    We have cord blood from both Kids.
    We chose Corecell because it cooperates with the bigges “blood bank” in germany.
    You never know what happens….maybe they can do some thing in 15 or 20 jears?!?!?
    But at last it is your decision!!!!

    I try to call on the weekend…..we had a cold…and I could hardly talk. Sorry!

  4. Lyrehca Says:

    We banked, too, and I think we went with New England Blood bank (but I’m saying this without checking the paperwork I have filed on it). I also blogged about the topic at the time, if you want to read it: http://thesweetnesswithin.blogspot.com/2007/03/cord-blood-conundrum.html

  5. Julie Says:

    When I had my daughter 4 years ago I asked my OB about it. He said that there were several banks that were so full of cord blood that they weren’t taking any more (these of course aren’t the ones you pay for). He said that if my child had a problem that she could use the cord blood from the public bank and not a private bank.

  6. Brian Ross Says:

    I Have a type 1 diabetic son who was diagnosed when he was 9. we saved his cord blood stem cells and he was infused with his stem cells exactly 2 months after diagnosis. I am pleased to say that he is still clinically in honeymoon phase 3 years later. There is something to stem cells and their ability to treat diseases.

    I am a big believer in stem cells and their technology although I am not a medical professional, just a caring and concerned dad.


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