A few years ago, umbilical cord banking was a foreign concept for the Indian population. But today, due to the increased use of stem cells in many treatments, people opt for cord blood banking in India. Your baby’s umbilical cord blood is collected and stored for future medical use.
A baby’s cord blood contains valuable stem cells that help treat various diseases like blood cancer, genetic disorder, and more. As research on stem cells advances, many more health conditions will be successfully treated. Here are a few things that you need to know about cord blood and stem cell banking in India.
Cord Blood is Collected After the Delivery of the Baby
Cord blood is collected after the cord is clamped, and the doctor delivers the baby to the parents. The cord blood collection causes no pain or harm to the baby or mother. Even today, many hospitals started collecting cord blood after a delayed cord clamping. This allows much of the umbilical cord’s blood to return to the baby when the cord is clamped.
Preserved Cord Blood is Beneficial for Siblings
The stem cells from the cord blood are genetically unique to the baby’s family members – siblings, parents, and relatives. The chances are high that a sibling’s genetic matches with the preserved stem cell. This means that these cells could effectively treat serious diseases in siblings. Further, the sibling can also benefit from the stem cell when it comes to the body’s immune system. So, preserving cord blood will give peace of mind to a family as they will have a treatment option available if needed in the future.
Decide Before Labor whether to Save the Cord Blood or Not
You need to decide before labor whether you want to store the cord blood of your baby or not. For cord blood banking in India, you need to go through a registration process that is not a part of the delivery ward. For parents planning to store or donate cord blood, it is recommended that they complete the registration process with the cord bank before the third trimester.
Stem Cell has Promising Potential
Umbilical cord blood has promising potential for treating a variety of diseases. It is a rich source of stem cells that have been used in more than one million transplants worldwide for disorders like leukaemia, metabolic disorders, and more. These stem cells are also useful to offset the effects of cancer treatment on the immune system.
Cord Blood is Useful for Clinical Trials and Research
New diseases and advanced treatments for them are emerging with each passing day. For the development of novel therapies, stem cells play a vital role in research and clinical trials of treatments. For example, stem cells help in the research of advanced treatments for blood disorders, traumatic brain injury, muscle repair, etc. Additionally, they are useful in the study of how diseases occur and why cells develop into cancer cells.
Options for Storing Cord Blood: Private and Public Banks
In India, you will have two options for storing cord blood which are discussed below:
Public cord blood banking: Public cord blood banks work on the donation concept. It means you donate your baby’s cord blood to these banks, and they store it for free. But, your cord blood will be used for anyone who is in need of it. This means it will be available to the public also.
Private cord blood banking: Private cord blood banks are personal family cord blood banks. Parents store their baby’s cord blood for future use. No other person will have the right to use your cord blood. But private cord blood banking s not free. Here you will need to pay initial fees and charges per year.
Here is the list of private cord blood banking in India:
- Cryoviva India
- Cordlife India
- Stem Plus
- StemCyte India
- Reliance and more.
If cord blood banking is something you are interested in doing, please discuss your options with your doctor to find one.
Cord Blood Banking Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of cord blood banking:
- Collecting cord blood is risk-free and causes no harm to both you and your baby.
- Stem cells from cord blood can support the immune system of cancer patients.
- Donating cord blood in public banks is free.
- As already mentioned, stem cells are useful in treating numerous severe illnesses, such as genetic disorders, neurological diseases, and more.
- You need to spend a bit of time during pregnancy preparing papers to donate or store cord blood.
- Storing your cord blood in a private bank can prove costly for you.
- Sometimes a patient needs more stem cells than are available in the cord blood of one person.
Cord blood banking offers both advantages and disadvantages. In essence, the main benefit is that the stem cells donated may be used in life-saving treatment.
Different banks charge different fees for storing cord blood for years. In India, the charges for cord blood banking may vary between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,00,000. You don’t need to pay at once, but you can pay every year or month, depending on the plan you choose.
Storing your baby’s cord blood is a personal decision. However, it can be useful for you and your family in many ways in the future. Remember that umbilical cord blood that isn’t stored or donated gets thrown away. So, if you are able to pay the fee, then it is a good option to store the umbilical cord blood in India.
The cord blood banking industry is less than 30 years old, so it is difficult to say how many years cord blood is good. But it is good for atleast 25 years or more.
No, in India, insurance doesn’t cover cord blood banking.