What benefits do stem cell banks provide?
Overall significance is rather low. But it is a matter of personal choice.
Let me try to explain the fundamentals of stem cell banking.
The embryonic cells (as found in fetal life) have the capacity of differentiating into any cell line and can give rise to any tissue.
Stem cells are embryonic cells that can help in replacing any tissue that is subsequently damaged due to some disease process.
So it preservation of stem cells carries a value. The problems lie in the cost involved and the actual duration of storage as the storage may need to be done for may be 60 years before it is required at all.
For all practical purposes, even if you decide to go for stem cell banking, chances are that you or your offspring might not really decide to pay to store it that long.
In such a case, stem cell banking loses its actual significance. Furthermore, it is more of an experimental zone and a lot remains to be explored about which diseases can really benefit from stem cell banking.
There are two broad alternatives - public (community) and private stem cell banks.
Initial cost in a public stem cell bank as in Lifecell Stem Cell (Babycord share) community banking is low and you need not pay for the storage costs too but in case somebody else requires it, it will be given on first come first serve basis for a cost.
The probability of the HLA (unique identifier of cells of an individual) matching with that of somebody else is extremetly low. I would consider it to be a rather good option.
You would have to decide on whether you want to go for stem cell banking.
It is hard for me to decide for you. All I can say is that stem cell banking is rather overhyped.
There is no single parameter for choosing the best stem cell bank. It is like asking which is the best XXXXXXX phone for me. First, you would need to understand the parameters involved.
I have already mentioned on the initial bifurcation between public and private ones and you would need to decide on that first.
Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
You need to decide for yourself
All I can say is that I did not opt for stem cell banking for my own kid who is now 2 years old. It was a conscious decision. You would have to decide for yourself.
Hope I have answered your query.
Dr Diptanshu Das, Pediatrician
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