Despite cord blood transfusions being used in clinical practice internationally since 1988, there are still some common misconceptions about cord blood banking.
Misconception 1. "doctors would not treat the child with his or her own cord blood because it would contain the disease."
Fact: Thousands of autologous stem cell transplants are carried out every year in both adults and children, for diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and many solid tumors. For some of the common forms of leukemia there is a preference today for using a sibling donor or other tissue matched donor. However, if no match is available, autologous cord blood stem cells have been used and offer many advantages as a transplant source, including no risk of graft vs. host disease (GVHD-a leading cause of death for transplant patients) and immediate availability.
Medical research into the use of cord blood in the field of regenerative medicine is showing considerable potential in many international studies. These studies are evaluation the use of cord blood stem cells to repair and regenerate tissues. These studies are still in the clinical trial phases and are not yet approved for routine clinical use in Australia. As autologous cord blood stem cells can be safely transfused back into a child without rejection they are commonly used in regenerative medicine research. In the USA, the FDA has approved clinical trials using autologous cord blood to treat cerebral palsy, brain injury and juvenile diabetes. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that as many as 1 in 3 people in the US could benefit from applications of regenerative medicine in the future.
Misconception 2. "The probability that a family, with no history of cancer or disease, will ever need their banked cord blood is so low that my family shouldn't bother doing it."
Fact: Research has shown that family history is not a reliable indicator of need because many forms of leukaemia are not hereditary, and the causes of many cancers and diseases are still unknown and occur without warning. Our clients understand that banking their child's cord blood with Cryosite is a sort of an insurance policy for the future.
Misconception 3. "Cord blood is not being used yet in medical treatments."
Fact: Cord blood is routinely used in clinical practice both in Australia and internationally for the treatment of diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and solid tumors. Additional uses for umbilical cord blood are also the subject of a significant amount of scientific research internationally. “Cord blood transplantation is widely accepted for use in the paediatric transplant community.” “Umbilical cord blood has been used successfully in related transplants for both malignant and non-malignant diseases”. (Ballen 2005)
Misconception 4. "Cord blood collection is harmful to my baby."
Fact: The cord blood that is being collected is blood that would routinely be discarded as medical waste and your obstetrician will not alter the normal birthing process in any way. The collection process is non-invasive, completely painless, takes only a few minutes, and does not present any risks to either mother or baby.
Misconception 5. "Cord blood banking is too expensive."
Fact: Cord blood banking is an important investment in your baby's future health, and if ever required, the lifesaving potential of the collected stem cells could prove priceless. Cryosite always attempts to keep prices as low as possible without compromising the quality of our processes, which is at all times our primary concern. We have included several payment options to try to make cord blood banking more affordable and easier to manage for as many Australian parents as possible.
Misconception 6. "There is no need to bank my baby's own cord blood because I can retrieve my or someone else's donated sample from a public bank."
Fact: Public cord blood banks are an important resource for the community, it is important to understand that only private banking ensures that your baby's cord blood is saved and available if ever needed. There is no guarantee that a fully compatible match will be found in a public bank. Additionally, should regenerative uses for cord blood become routine approved clinical practice in the future, your child's own autologous cord blood will be required.