Saving Cord Blood and Saving Lives?
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Umbilical cord blood banking has grown into a global phenomenon that both new and experienced expecting parents are drawn to. Because research indicates that stem cells found in cord blood present many benefits, such as treatment of blood cancers and genetic diseases, parents have come to believe that storing their children’s cord blood is a form of “biological insurance.” In certain aspects, cord blood can be life-saving. However, the storage and maintenance of cord blood, known as cord blood banking, has also become a form of consumerism. There are three types of cord blood banks: private, public, and direct-donation. Private banks allow for the family’s personal storage and use of cord blood for various fees. Public and direct-donation banks allow for the free donation of cord blood to the general public or to a specific recipient. Since there is little chance for a family to use their child’s cord blood unless that child or a sibling has a condition that can be treated with cord blood, it is often more beneficial for families donate cord blood to the public or use direct donation. Nevertheless, private cord blood banks target expecting parents as customers in order to run their businesses.