Why Cord blood banking is unnecessary

Jes 2 Comments

This is not such a hot topic because only 1 out of my many friends went for it. Most would-be parents would see the sales promoters in clinics or being shoved a brochure on this issue. Let us find out in depth what cord blood bank really is and you can decide if you really need it for your child.

What is it?
During delivery, there will be blood left behind in the umbilical cord and placenta and they are called cord blood. The storage of it is in case there is an emergency for stem cells, perfect for blood diseases such as leukaemia, lymphoma, immune deficiencies and regenerative therapy. These stem cells can be used for the whole family and not for the public.

How much does it cost?
Around $5k for 21 years to store the cord blood in a private bank.

What is the process like?
The gynaecologist will inform you when they retrieved the cord blood after delivery and ask what you would like to do with it. You will need to remove the cord blood regardless if you intend to store in a private bank or not.

What is the likelihood of one using the cord blood?
Reports estimated that less than 2.2% will ever need it from the public bank. Less than 0.04% ever withdraw the cord blood stored privately.

Why the lower percentage for privately stored cord blood?
The best choice may not always come from your own cord blood! This is because your own cord blood may also contain the same genetic defect that caused the disease so there is no point in using it. Moreover, fresh stem cells specimen from a living family member is much better than what is stored in the cord blood, making the storage pointless. Lastly, stem cell transplant is not the best treatment in children even in cases of such blood disorders as they cause long term irreparable damage.

When is storage in private banks useful?
Doctors said that they are particularly necessary for people of rare blood type who has difficult finding a match or for families with a history of blood disorders.

What about others?
Many people do it for 'peace of mind', just like an insurance to guard against blood illnesses.

What about me?
No I did not do it or even consider this. Since Today has already reported that there is not much practical uses for healthy people, I believe there is no need for me to do so and the public bank is sufficient.

How about donating it to a public bank?
Honestly, I did not know about the donation and have no idea if my cord blood went to a public bank. The hospital staff did not really ask me if I wanted to donate. It could be discarded or donated, I am not sure. If I am more aware, I would have insisted of it being donated surely.

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  1. In 2014 when I was admitted to KKH for delivery, the staff asked for my consent to sign a form for public cord blood bank. I signed for it and was never told whether cord blood was retrieved, found to be fit for storage or discarded. Simply no communication at all.

    1. Hi there,

      I think since you have already signed your consent, they are not obliged to communicate about your status of cord blood. I don't even get any consent form at all! Since cord blood is so useful, I don't understand why hospitals are not getting more women to donate them.