Thursday, November 18, 2010

Public Banking

"When Leidy Sanchez and her husband, Carlos Reyes, went to the hospital last week to deliver their baby, a nurse got her a gown, hooked her up to a fetal monitor and asked an unexpected question: Would they like to donate cells from their baby's umbilical cord blood to a public bank? "We said, 'For real, people are doing this?' " says Sanchez. "We'd never heard of it." The couple had heard of private banking, where you pay thousands of dollars to store your baby's cord blood cells, but this was different. The stem cells from Christopher's umbilical cord would be stored, free of charge, at a public bank for potentially anyone in need of a stem cell transplant for leukemia, sickle cell anemia or dozens of other diseases. (Public Banking)"

Until I read this article I had no idea this was even something you could have done with umbilical cells. But thinking about it, this is a great idea. You can, free of cost, have your child's umbilical blood cells saved. These cells could later be used to save someone's life, possibly even someone in your own family. However, the cells most likely can't be used to save the child's life they were taken from because if the child is ill then the cells taken from them would be diseased as well. But there is a study going on now to see if the child's own cells could be used to treat cerebral palsy or brain damage caused by low oxygen at birth. Once again medicine is using these things we usually throw out and turning them into ways to cure "incurable" diseases.

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