If you want to save your child’s cord blood, there’s a nine in ten chance that the sample won’t be usable. That’s a good reason for us all to get behind the public banking of umbilical cord blood cells.
From the San Antonio Express-News:
. . . So far, the hospital has collected 2,500 units — 800 of which actually made it to the liquid nitrogen freezers, she said.
The numbers belie a unique challenge for cord blood collection. On average, only one in 10 units of cord blood collected nationally are deemed viable, Fisk said. A top reason is volume — if enough blood is not available from the cord for whatever reason or there are problems in collection, it cannot be banked.
To build an adequate supply of cord blood for transplantations, the Institute of Medicine has said the nation needs about 100,000 donations, besides the usable 50,000 cord blood donations already in stock at public cord blood banks around the country. The Texas Cord Blood Bank needs to collect 6,000 units to be financially self-sustaining, Fisk said.
But then, just as you most likely won’t need that pint of blood you donate at the more familiar blood bank, there’s also very little chance that your child or anyone in your family will need a cord blood treatment:
“Advocates for banking as a public resource cite that fact and research showing that the chances your family ever will use the privately banked blood are low — from 1 in 1,400 to 1 in 200,000.
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, most people have a better chance of finding a stem cell match in the public cord blood system than in their own family.”
Remember that proven research and treatments such as those that saved the little girl in today’s story and my own granddaughter, who was born unable to make white blood cells. Texas scientists have even been able to make umbilical cord cells act like embryonic stem cells.
And no one has to die for these cures.