August 4, 2008

Cord Blood Banking Is Utter Waste Of Time, Money, Say Cancer-Loving Baby Haters

The Boston Globe's Beverly Beckham went to the "Ultimate Baby Shower," at the Wellesley Club, and all she got was seriously pissed at how the whole thing was actually a PowerPointy sales pitch by the umbilical cord blood banking company, ViaCord, which is just one more example of a greedy, manipulative Baby Industrial Complex stoking the fears of vulnerable, expectant parents and guilting them into spending $2,195 up front plus $125/year until the leukemia hits to deep-freeze their kid's umbilical cord blood, even though the AAP and researchers say the science and treatments aren't there, and they warn of "unsubstantiated claims" by cord blood banks.

Sounds like someone's pissed she didn't win the Uppa Baby stroller raffle.

Oh wait, what's this? Beckham didn't attend the Ultimate Baby Shower, she just read about it? And the pregnant reporter who did attend made the whole thing sound like it was only about ViaCord, when in fact, they were just one of three 20-minute presentations? [And the organizing sponsors of the event, which they've replicated in other states.] And the other two presenters were a local 3-D/4-D ultrasound technician and the pregnant merchant/blogger from Beantown's own baby gear emporium, Magic Beans? And that the non-alcoholic "mocktails" they served were as fabulous as the dinner, the gift bags and the raffle prizes?

So does this mean that we actually should consider cord blood banks as unbiased sources of advice, or are they still the Fox News of expensive medical procedures?

"It is the responsibility of the company to be fair and balanced," said Jim Corbett , president of ViaCell Inc., which runs ViaCord.
Gotcha.

'Ultimate Baby Shower' really just a rain of fear [boston.com via dt reader sara]
At baby shower, a medical pitch [boston.com]
Who's afraid of cord blood? [spillingthebeans.net]

7 Comments

If I untie my 4 year old's belly button now, can I still get some of her cord blood..?

My wife and I tried to donate our daughter's cord blood at her birth. We did all the paperwork, alerted our midwives of our intent and got their signatures, only to find out that the cord blood banking companies just weren't interested in coming and getting our daughter's stem cells. Apparently, although we live next to one of the biggest hospitals in New England (Dartmouth-Hitchcock) there is only ONE hospital in all of New England that cord blood companies will take donations from, and that's UMass Medical Center down in Worcester, MA (what fun a two hour drive post-partum would be!). A great hospital to be sure (I worked there once) but not even a center in Boston, where, you know, Mass General and Harvard/Longwood are located? However, what we were told by the cord blood banking company, was that while they weren't interested in our donation, if we wanted to use their services and PAY for liquid nitrogen storage costs to save the cells for ourselves, they'd be happy to send a courier right up to us. But donating for research or someone else? Forget about it.

So any song-and-dance that these companies give about helping other people is complete horsepoo. It's all about them selling storage fees to you. There's zero intent to be charitable.

And ViaCord is headquartered in Waltham, too.

I chose to bank my son's cord blood. I have 3 half-Asian/half-Caucasian kids, finding matching donors would be difficult at best. Even if all of the technology is not out there yet, I guess I can live with the $100/yr storage fee if there was even a smidgen of hope that his cord blood may make a difference in treatment. One of the biggest heartbreaks of my job is telling parents that their child has a form of cancer. Their expressions of fear, disbelief, anger and anguish are enough to make me break down in the room (but I don't.... I flip on the "distance-button" and cry when I get home).

Unfortunately they tend to leave out that part where a whole lot of diseases, cancers included can not be treated using the child's own cordblood. Maybe if your child has siblings... maybe for whatever other reason or if you have the money and it just gives you a sense of peace... but I've always thought it just as worth it to donate the cordblood and potentially save a child's life... a child who needs it right now.

I found that it was difficult to arrange donation. (I considered splitting the sample.) I didn't bank cord blood with my first two kids and thought that with my last baby, there was at least one chance at storing some blood. It is peace of mind, I suppose... Like many of the things we do

Greg, Eli and I are in the hospital, having just delivered baby #3 this afternoon (post-partum merchant/blogger??), and we are ROFL. Thanks for the shout out.

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