Is it wise to bank your baby’s stem cells?

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The recently published news articles weigh up new reasons why parents don’t bank their baby’s umbilical cord stem cells?

According to a survey done on 473 paediatricians, it was found that only 22% of them spoke to the prospective parents about umbilical cord blood banking. In a 5 month period, a 26 question survey which assessed the basic knowledge and conversation of the healthcare professionals on umbilical cord blood banking was rolled out. The respondents included medical students, nurses, subspecialists, paediatricians etc.

Nearly 79% of the respondents who deferred from speaking to parents about UCBB, cited that

the reasons for not communicating were:

1. Inadequate education about the subject

2. Lack of opportunity to discuss with parents before the infant’s birth

The respondents who received good exposure about UCBB addressed to the parents the benefits of it. 36% of the respondents who had informed parents also said, there is general lack of interest amidst parents about UCBB. The respondents who spoke were generally private paediatricians that practiced for more than 10 years. Female and younger pediatricians were the least to have such discussions. Among the ones who spoke were subspeciality paediatricians like haematologist and oncologist.

The discussion was generally about, the potential indications of UCBB for autologous use and its use in unrelated recipients. About 11% of the paediatricians had received formal education about stem cell banking and used UCB in their treatment practice. Almost 90% of the participants also requested for additional information regarding UCBB (Umbilical cord blood bank)

Another study conducted found that mothers who received most nudges about UCBB preserved their baby’s stem cells. The study involved 850 expectant mothers of which 57 opted for stem cell banking due to nudges of the doctors. 18-20% of them opted to preserve without any influence, Dr Lacetera, the associate professor at Toronto University said that the preservation rates would have been even higher if the researchers addressed concerns such as:

Improvement in the process of blood collectionIncrease of staff at the hospitalFlexibility in operating hours of the blood bank

Based on the data collected from all these studies, stem cell banks across India have their doctors and paramedic assisted collection process with hi-tech logistic provision and enough information to deal with all the queries raised by the parents.

On a mass scale, stem cells extracted from an umbilical cord has a range of therapeutic use for treating a host of medical conditions, so preserving a baby’s umbilical cord stem cells at birth is definitely wise and proactive decision.

Ref:http://contemporarypediatrics.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-pediatrics/news/pediatricians-rarely-discuss-umbilical-cord-blood-banking-parents

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