Pros and Cons of Cord Blood Banking: Modern medical research is more centered towards the treatment of advanced and complex diseases such as AIDS and cancer through stem cells study.
Stem cells are the unspecialized biological cells present in adults as well as during the prenatal period of embryos during pregnancy.
These cells can replenish and develop into any specific cell of tissues when required by the living body.
In adults, stem cells are found in various tissues such as blood, bones, brain, skin, and liver. During the developmental stage of the fetus, the cord is linked between the developing baby and mother.
This cord serves as an ultimate source of nourishment to the newly forming life. The blood of the cord is another highly populated source of stem cells.
The richly nourished blood of cord is banked by medical scientists and doctors as it can be served to fulfill numerous research and rehabilitation purposes.
However, it is not a risk-free process and holds its own detriments. Let’s analyze the pros and cons of cord blood banking in detail below.
Table of Contents
- 10 Pros of Cord Blood Banking
- 10 Cons of Cord Blood Banking
10 Pros of Cord Blood Banking
Here are the top 10 pros or advantages of cord blood banking:
1. Helping Family Members
In case of medical complications, provision of stem cells from a child could be a source of medical assistance to siblings, parents or any other family member, due to inheritance similarities.
- It is advisable to parents who afford to sustain the cost of the procedure, to go for cord blood banking as it can provide medical relief to any family member in suffering.
2. Painless Process
The procedure of collecting blood from the cord of a newly born baby is entirely non-technical and pain-free for the mother as well as the juvenile infant.
- The cord which is the main channel linking mother to the developing life provides nutrients and source of removal of toxic wastes from the baby through the mother.
- After birth, before clamping the cord , it is cut about 10 inches apart, and blood is withdrawn into a bag or otherwise through a syringe.
- Both the procedures are pain-free methods for baby and the mother.
3. Devoid of Health Risks
The banking of cord blood is a risk-free procedure for the baby and the mother.
- Usually, the cord is folded and clamped after birth. It dries off a few weeks after birth. The blood is withdrawn from the cord after the baby gets delivered.
- The method does not give any post-procedure threat to mother or infant baby and holds total hazard free guarantee.
4. Future Insurance for Child
The banking of cord blood provides safe and effective options to parents for saving their child’s health prospects.
- The process is regarded as similar to the health insurance of children. Due to the similarity in the genetic makeup of siblings and closely related family members, the saving of cord blood gives a safe choice to deal with any unhealthy future concerns.
- The process of saving stem cells holds 100% chance of matching with the same individual and 75% chance of similarity among the siblings.
5. Assisting Humanity
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) appreciates couples to go for banking cord blood, even if they are not interested in the personalized usage of the miraculous blood.
- Due to increased chances of acceptance of stem cells into the foreign body, the donor blood could prove to be an extraordinary relief to many sufferers.
- The donation of cord blood to public banks is motivated by FDA as it can serve as an excellent transplantation option in many recipient patients.
6. Increased Effectiveness
The stem cells from cord blood hold the uplift advantage of greater acceptability, decreased rejection and mismatching concerns than bone marrow stem cells.
- The stem cells from bone marrow have remained an ultimate option of transplantation for years, despite the risks involved pre and post-transplantation.
- Better acceptability, fewer risks and long shelf life of storage have made a cord blood stem cells superior option as compared to bone marrow stem cells.
7. Decreased Chances of Graft Diseases
The chances of graft diseases after transplantation are more with peripheral blood as compared to cord blood.
- According to the National Institute of Health Sciences, chances of GVHD (Graft Versus Host Diseases) occur more commonly with grafts of peripheral blood.
- Due to the increased compatibility of donor and recipient in cord blood transplantation, chances of GVHD are decreased after the grafting in host body has taken place.
8. Prolong Storage
Apart from the easy collection of cord blood, it can be stored for almost 15 years.
- When frozen, cord blood holds longer shelf life for usage after many years of collection.
- On the contrary, bone marrow blood cannot be preserved for a longer duration.
- Bone marrow blood requires immediate transplantation after collection otherwise the blood loses the efficacy and no longer remains viable to be used for transplantation purposes.
9. Immune System Reinforcement
Nowadays, cord blood is widely used for boosting the immunity of patients, during the treatment of cancer.
- Chemotherapeutic treatment of cancer negatively affects the immunity of the person.
- The researchers and medical scientists are employing the use of cord blood stem cells for increasing the strength of the immune system for better treatment outcomes and recovery.
10. Increased Proliferation Capability
The stem cells from cord blood possess thriving response of division upon migration into the recipient body.
- Enhanced division capability of cord blood stem cells gives better results in recipients as compared to peripheral stem cells.
- Being juvenile and greater proliferation , the yield of cord stem cells is about 14 times greater than cells from other sources.
10 Cons of Cord Blood Banking
Now, let’s explore the cons or demerits of cord-blood banking:
1. Price Inefficient
Despite easier collection, the cord blood banking covers charges in two phases.
- On the first hand, fees of about $2100 are charged regarding collection, enrolment, and storage for the primary year.
- Secondly, per annum, charges are taken for preservation.
- These charges make cord blood banking cost inefficient and unaffordable for many desiring families.
2. Ineffective Treatment in Adults
The usage of cord blood for treatment in adults is considered an ineffective option.
- Because of the limited volume of cord blood available from the source, adults cannot be treated for ailments with such less quantity.
- Adults usually require greater blood volumes for treatment purposes which cannot be meant from cord blood bank.
3. Autologous Transplantation
Stem cells from a child are used to treat the diseases and ailments in the same child in autologous transplantation.
- However, the method loses its credibility in the case is of the child suffering from genetic diseases or blood cancer.
- Since the makeup of genes is similar for all the cells of the body, stem cells can no longer remain viable to treat inherited diseases.
4. Immediate Collection
Though, the cord blood banking is associated with the easier collection but requires immediate collection at the time of birth of a baby.
- Couples going for cord blood baking need to take the decision way before delivery time as cord blood banking cannot be decided in a spur of the delivery moment.
- Unlike the bone marrow stem cells for which the collection could take place at any time of life, umbilical cord stem cells are available for collection, only at the time of birth.
5. Second Blood Donation
Cord blood banking holds another disadvantage of lacking second donation chances.
- Stem cells from other sources can be replenished when required, from the same source.
- However, the limited volume of blood is available in cord blood bank with no replenishment.
- Some other donor unit is taken in case of further requirement.
6. Transferring Rare Inherited Disorders
The rare genetic diseases from the donor could get transferred to the recipient through cord blood banking.
- Inherited diseases cannot be assessed at the time of collection and manifest at later stages of life.
- Though the chances are quite less, however, the cord blood poses a threat of transferring the genetic ailment through cord blood banking.
7. Slow Engraftment
The cord blood stem cells show slow working in the recipient, after grafting.
- The working of the graft is indicated by the appearance of specialized white blood cells (neutrophils and platelets) into the blood of the recipient.
- The white blood cells appear late in grafting from cord blood as compared to stem cells from bone marrow transplantation.
8. Uncertain Success Rate
Based upon slow engraftment of umbilical cord stem cells, the certainty of the procedure remains questioned for months till the appearance of working symptoms.
- The cord blood transplantation holds ambiguous success of the procedure due to slow working.
- As a result, it also increases the chances of increased infections in recipients.
9. Ethical Concerns
Usefulness of cord blood banking becomes gloomy under the ethical issues linked with the process.
- FDA requires appropriate legal considerations and ethical consents of parents involved in cord blood banking.
- The privacy of donor and consent for research-based medical studies on umbilical cord stem cells is also requisite.
- The ethical issues linked with cord blood banking make it controversial under certain circumstances.
10. Quality Compromise
The ability for long-term preservation of cord blood does not guarantee the quality of the stored specimen.
- There is no assurance provided by the authorities that whether the specimen would be able to retain its efficacy for a more extended period of duration or not, in a frozen state.
- This problem raises concerns over the reliability of the cord blood banking.
Stem cell studies have revolutionized the management of critical illnesses and ailments. On-going researches have increased the prospects of success in stem cell therapies.
Stem cells from the blood of cord are considered as a biological product by U. S Food and Drugs Administration and kept under strict observation.
Based upon the outcomes of cord blood banking, a couple (mother and father) should decide the procedure way before the birth of their child.
FDA encourages couples to go for cord blood banking as it could serve as a life-changing transplant for humanity.
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