Is it advisable to collect the stem cell of a new born baby?
Q: My 26 years old sister is due to deliver her first baby next month. We are thinking of collecting the stem cell of the baby. But we don't have any chronic disease in the family. In this situation, is it advisable to collect the stem cells? How is it useful in future?
A:Cord blood stem cell banking is something that has caught too much attention from public at large since the media has hyped to this extent. While there is no doubt that cord blood stem cells may be of use potentially, the possibility of using them for personal use is very minimal. I am quoting from American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation committee report: "Unrelated-donor umbilical cord blood (CB) is a useful alternative hematopoietic stem cell source for patients without suitably matched and readily available related or unrelated stem cell donors. Expectant parents today may have the option of either donating the CB to a public CB bank or keeping and storing the CB in a private bank for potential use in the future. The alternatives are often referred to as public banking and private banking. On behalf of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT), we have reviewed the currently available data and opinions and offer the following recommendations: 1. Public donation of CB is encouraged where possible. 2. The probability of using one’s own CB is very small—difficult to quantify but probably as low as 0.04% (1:2500) to 0.0005% (1:200,000) in the first 20 years of life—and therefore, storage of CB for personal use is not recommended. 3. Family member banking (collecting and storing CB for a family member) is recommended when there is a sibling with a disease that may be treated successfully with allogeneic transplant. Family member banking on behalf of a parent with a disease that may be treated successfully with allogeneic transplant is only recommended when there are shared HLA-antigens between the parents." Based on these recommendations one should take a decision. So the choice has to yours! Hope this is helpful