Inside the Strange Science of Cord Blood Banking

“If you have the money, and you want to bank your child’s own cord blood, you’re essentially investing in one of two things,” said Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, director of the Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program. “One, the possibility that another child in your family will need that cord blood, and that it matches. Or two, that somewhere in the future there will be new developments and new uses for your child’s cord blood — say in regenerative medicine or cell therapy. But to date, none of those exist.”

While a few rare diseases, such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma, use stem cells taken from a patient’s own body, the chances of a child having these are vanishingly small. The chances are so small, in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend private cord blood storing. Parents should only consider it, they say, if a family member has a disease that could be treated with stem cell transplants.

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This sounds like a reasonably priced “insurance policy” to me.