Is it worth investing in stem cell banking?
Its your decision
Hi and thanks for your query.
I personally would not invest in any such venture.
But it is your decision and it should be an informed decision. Stem cells have regenerative potential. That is when these cells are injected in some place they will proliferate, differentiate into specialised cells (say brain cells) and regenerate the tissue. So it is used when some tissue loss is causing disease.
The conditions where it is being used and researched is brain conditions (like Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer, Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis), intestinal conditions (like Radiation Induced Intestinal Injury, Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Liver Disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Bone Disease, Renal Disease, Chronic Wounds, Graft-Versus-Host Disease, Sepsis and Respiratory diseases.
So as you can see it has some potential. In case the child suffers some condition in future, he may get his umbilical cord stem cells and use them.
Stem cell transplantation is not so commonly used. I feel it is still in research phase. Secondly, the extent of side effects of medicines used during transplant is also high (comparable to cancer medicines). Another issue seen is that if stem cells for example are put in heart muscle, it is observed that they travel to other organs and produce side effects.
I personally feel that if doctors find a cure to one condition, then another one emerges. For example we found antibiotics that kill bacteria, now people are succumbing to viral infections like AIDS, for which no cure is found.
Hope it helps.