Filed under: Health News, Healthcare General, Medical Advancements, Medical Technology
Private Cord blood banking in India: is it justified?
Umbilical cord blood is an excellent source of stem cells. Collection and storage of this blood therefore raises serious possibilities of use for a variety of therapeutic purposes. Stem cells find application in regenerative medicine, thus creating opportunities for treatment of hitherto incurable diseases. Globally, both public and private cord blood banks are picking up. While public blood banks, which are usually government sponsored, accept donations to be later used by anyone who may need them, private cord blood banking involves storage of blood exclusively for future use of the subject or his/her immediate family. This, coupled with the prohibitive costs involved in storage, raises certain controversies. A few objections to the trend of private cord blood banking include:
- Extremely low possibility of a healthy couple needing the baby’s blood during his lifetime.
- Public cord blood banks may be able to provide a match for the child if need arises.
- Private cord blood banking is, of course, quite expensive, costing about 70,000-80,000 Rs in India, which means that it is out of reach of most parents.
- Moreover, if the child has a genetic disease, the collected blood shall also be affected, nullifying its use.
It is interesting to note that while public cord blood banking is still yet to pick up in India, there are many players in the private sector, the major ones beingReliance Life Sciences, Lifecell International, Cryobanks International India, Cryo Stemcell Karnataka, Cordlife Sciences, and Cryo-Save India.
We at Healthcare Intelligence Forum are extremely concerned because what the medical community opines on this issue could also serve as a reflection on future health economic trends in India. We are inviting scholars and experts to write/comment either for or against the issue, so that a 3-D perspective may be presented to the society to stimulate informed thinking.
Suggested further reading:
http://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/announce/convention/papers/Changing%20Playfield-01-Saboohi%20Nasim,%20%20%20Kiran.%20K.%20Momaya.pdf http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/cordbloodbanking.html http://cms08.cryo-save.com/cms/bib/files/244_privatecbbankinguseful.pdf
-By Dr Harmeet Singh (Orthopedician /Medical advancement consultant)