Giuliana and Bill Rancic have been in the celebrity-world news a lot lately as the birth of their baby via surrogate approaches (end of August/beginning of September). Their most recent headline-making news is that they are planning to donate Baby Rancic’s umbilical cord blood. Say what? According to Celebrity Baby Scoop:
After suffering with infertility followed by a breast cancer diagnosis in 2011, Giuliana and her husband Bill made the decision to store their child’s cord blood. The couple was given their blood banking kit during their baby shower and Giuliana tweeted about their decision, mentioning her sister Monica who also did cord blood banking.
“So thankful 4 all the fab baby shower gifts!” Giuliana tweeted. “Looking forward to banking w/@CordBloodRegistry like my sister did!”
Giuliana is actually an ambassador for Cord Blood Registry and further explained her reasoning with a statement on their website.
“Cord blood banking with CBR is the best baby shower gift because Bill and I, just like any parent to be, want a healthy future for our family,” the statement reads. “Many people have a family history of diseases that can be treated with stem cells. We want other pregnant women out there to get educated on the importance of banking at cordblood.com. It is so important!”
So what is cord blood banking and what does it entail? According to AmericanPregnancy.com, “cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. It is blood that is usually discarded. Cord blood banking utilizes external facilities as a place to store and preserve a baby’s cord blood”. It was discovered in the 1970s that umbilical cord blood could supply the same kinds of blood-forming stem cells as bone marrow. Because of this, cord blood started to be stored and used as treatment for blood disorders such as leukemia, neuroblastoma, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. It can also be used to treat immune deficiencies and genetic diseases and recent research has shown that it could potentially be effective in treating cerebral palsy and diabetes. In other words, it is blood that would otherwise be discarded as medical waste but is instead stored and can then be used to treat medical conditions.
I don’t pretend to be a doctor, nor am I particularly knowledgeable in the medical field. This is supposedly a controversial practice, but if you are in a financial position to donate cord blood (it costs upwards of $3,000 for public banking and more for private banking), why wouldn’t you? I genuinely do not see the problem with this.
What I have found to be potentially controversial is the use of private banking. From Reuters:
Because cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells, it is one of three possible sources of blood-forming cells used in transplants, along with bone marrow and circulating blood. One of the advantages of cord blood, which is frozen and stored in either a public or private bank, is that there is evidence that the donor/recipient match doesn’t have to be as exact as it does for bone marrow and circulating blood.
But the collection of cord blood after birth hasn’t been standardized, and some physicians oppose its storage for private use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently discouraged the use of private cord blood banks, except when a relative has a current need for a transplant, because it is unclear that banked cord blood benefits the individual it was collected from.
I think the reason people get annoyed about private banking is that it would be the equivalent of joining the Bone Marrow Registry and deciding that only yourself or your family members could have access to the bone marrow. Regardless of whether you use public or private banking, I think people should if they are in a position to do so. As someone who had a parent with a blood cancer who underwent a stem cell transplant and would possibly have benefited from therapies such as cord blood donation, I think it is a fantastic idea.
For further information about Cord Blood Banking in Australia, you can visit the Sydney Children’s Hospital Cord Blood Bank.
What do you think of Cord Blood Banking? Would you do it?
Monique Fischle has written 98 posts.
22 year old communications assistant with a love of books, movies, music, ASOS and all things celebrity! I blog over at ‘the musings of monique’ and tweet quite frequently @moniquefischle.
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