Keeping cells safe

note: this post is probably more interesting for expectant parents.  Hahahha

There’s so many things the baby books never told you about before you got pregnant.

Besides the usual pregnancy ailments (rashes, heartburn, etc) I’ve had to learn up on so many things!

Breastfeeding was one.  Cord blood banking was another.

I’d never heard about it up to about three months ago.

I was at Naddy’s wedding when Edmund and Liling (another expectant couple) told me they were heading to a baby fair to check stuff out.  They said it would be good to go figure out what we needed to get as well as price estimates for budgeting.  So ok lo we were free so we went!

The baby fair wasn’t very awesome la.  Too many people and too many vendors selling what seemed like useless stuff to me.  Manchester United bibs etc. :X

But we found ourselves glued to the cord blood banking companies’ booths.  We’d never heard of this before!  Actually I did… a blog reader emailed me months ago suggesting I look into cord blood banking.  But I dismissed her email cos at that time, I’d only gotten pregnant, 9 months seemed like a very long time, and uhh I was more interested in other things (eating and trying not to puke chief among them).

Anyway at the baby fair, we decided to sit down and get the facts straight.  It all sounded very scientific and overwhelming and I felt a huge responsibility to make the right decisions when it comes to Fighter.  If it’s for myself I wouldn’t even buy insurance if Fatty didn’t insist on it but having Fighter rely on us completely for his welfare (and everything else) freaked me out.  Hahahha is this what Fatty feels like about me!

Anyway the decision for us was easy.  We’d definitely do cord blood banking; it was only a matter of which provider we went for.

To sum it up for you and to save you the headache, here are the key points I’ve learned over the past couple months.

What is cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking is collecting blood left in your newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta and storing it for future medical use.

Why would you save your baby’s cord blood?

When I was at the baby fair I whatsapped Wendy to ask her this too.  Cord blood contains potentially lifesaving stem cells which can be developed into other types of cells, so they can help repair tissues and organs, and can be used to treat a host of diseases.

Today, cord blood stems cells are used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases, including some cancers, blood disorders, immune system deficiencies, metabolic disorders and bone marrow failure syndromes. For example, cancers, blood disorders, and immune deficiencies. Among these are leukemia, sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, thalassemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In a cord blood transplant, stem cells are infused in to a patient’s bloodstream where they go to work healing and repairing damaged cells and tissue. When a transplant is successful, a healthy new immune system has been created.

How is cord blood collected?

This one is Fatty’s responsibility!.  The cord blood banking company will provide us a kit which we will have to bring with us to the hospital when I go into labor.  Fatty will probably have to be the one who remembers cos I don’t think I can at that point.

We just have to pass the kit to the doctor.  After I’ve delivered the baby and the cord has been clamped and cut, the doctor inserts a needle into the umbilical vein on the part of the cord that’s still attached to the placenta. The needle doesn’t go anywhere near your baby or you and it’s painless.

The entire process takes less than ten minutes. Then we call the rep to inform them I’ve delivered and they’ll come pick it up and send it back to the cord blood bank, where it’s tested, processed, and frozen for long-term storage.

Based on today’s developments, stem cells can be stored under liquid nitrogen indefinitely.  But for cord blood banking, the stem cells will be stored until the child turns 21.  Then the decision whether to continue storage is left up to child since he’s an adult then.

Who could use your baby’s cord blood?

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Since it’s the baby’s own cells, obviously it’d be a 100% match for him.  Siblings are also supposed to be high compatibility (some sources say 25-75%) but a bit lower for biological parents.

Which company did I choose?

There’s only three private cord blood banking companies in Malaysia doing this and we talked to all of them!  In the end we decided on Cellsafe.  They took the time to come meet me and explain everything so that helped a lot. ^^

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Cellsafe is the only company in Malaysia which employs SEPAX technology, which is a leading technology for cord blood processing.

Cellsafe packages

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They have 3 packages to choose from.  All come with:

  • a cord blood collection kit
  • processing of cord blood
  • maternal & cord blood testing to check for infection to make sure your cord blood is perfectly usable
  • storage of cord blood in 1 freezing bag
  • CellCare & FamilyCare benefits

The differences are, Silver Package only allows you to store for 1 year then you can choose to upgrade to Platinum or Diamond.  Platinum and Diamond store for 21 years.  Diamond is for the most kiasu because your cord blood gets stored in TWO locations, which means you need to collect at least 80ml of cord blood.

I also asked what would happen if say for some reason we need to use the cord blood in future but it gets contaminated and thus unusable.  Cellsafe has said they will compensate up to RM100K if the blood is not viable at time of transplant.

There’s also a coverage of up to RM100K depending on situation on transplant expenses involving the stem cells.  And if either parent passes away before 21 years is up (CHOI), Cellsafe will waive the remaining storage fee to protect baby’s welfare. :)

If you would like to find out more about cord blood banking and Cellsafe, this is their website.  Facebook page is here.

Or you can call their hotline to speak to a consultant, 1300 88 2355 (1300 88 CELL).

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Someone I talked to told me that they didn’t find cord blood banking necessary.  I admit that it’s still a relatively new development (although loads of people overseas have done it) but I guess I see it as a form of insurance for Fighter’s future?

There’s always gonna be new medical developments — more uses to be found for cord blood stem cells for example — so we’re taking it as a form of insurance for our future family.  Nobody wishes for a time when they need to claim insurance and it’s the same for this I think.

I certainly hope we won’t come to a time where we will actually need to use Fighter’s cord blood but if we do, then I’ll be very glad we have it available. :)

 

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  • isabellmiao

    this is awesome. glad you decided to store them. i heard about this from one of my senior as she was working in a stem cell company and explained to me about this. who knows, might be useful in the future!! :D

  • Fourfeetnine

    I did do a lot of research into cord blood banking so I resent you saying that I didnt before writing this post. nnI do understand that there’s still a lot of research to be done and a lot of possible developments in future, and I said as much in my post. nnEven if the technology is not available yet, it could be in the future. I think it’s a reasonable bet to sign up for cord blood banking than to not do it at all and later regret.nnIt’s a sponsored post but everything is my opinion. The whole post was on how I made my decision. I’m not forcing or coercing readers into anything.

  • Berry

    As it is no harm, I feel that it’s not a bad things to go on.nWe can’t predict our babies future.nCord blood banking is still kinda rare in Malaysia.nThis would be a good post for people to more understand about Cord Blood usage and banking.nnEveryone point of view is kinda different, as everyone came from different background ^^nI would go for it, if the financial allowed in future~ ^^

  • Berry

    As it is no harm, I feel that it’s not a bad things to go on.nWe can’t predict our babies future.nCord blood banking is still kinda rare in Malaysia.nThis would be a good post for people to more understand about Cord Blood usage and banking.nnEveryone point of view is kinda different, as everyone came from different background ^^nI would go for it, if the financial allowed in future~ ^^

  • mela

    I banked the cord blood for both my kiddies. Cord blood banking is incredibly common in Singapore. All of the parents I know have done it.nnAs far as I was concerned, I wanted to know that I have done everything to safeguard my children and provide them with possibilities and opportunities should anything untoward happen in the future. I don’t ever want to be in a position where I asked myself what if and why I did not do something or other.nnAnyway, it isn’t like it cost an arm and a leg so why not? :)

  • Fourfeetnine

    sigh i find your comment irrelevant, as though you just wanna say something and come up with a weak reason. :X

  • Fourfeetnine

    this post is sponsored, but i was being honest when i said that we already decided to do cord blood banking, the only question is which company to go for. so even if it’s not sponsored, i would have done it anyway.rnrnand the reason why i tag it as an ad at the bottom is so that people can read with an open mind. i stand by what i write and whatever good things i say, i really mean it. rnrnif you’re not interested in a product, you would not buy it no matter what i write. if you are interested, you would definitely do more research than just reading my blog, especially in a big decision like this. so your reason is irrelevant and petty.

  • Fourfeetnine

    exactly! i know that it’s not conclusive – as in there may be times where we can’t use it anyway, but i don’t want to regret later on that i didn’t bank it. at least i know we’ve done whatever we can. :)

  • Fourfeetnine

    i’ve heard of more and more people doing it in malaysia! most of my friends did it :) and yea i would definitely do it if i can afford it.

  • J

    is it possible to share the range of cost for each package?

  • J Y

    I am now 8 months pregnant.. I went to do extensive research on all the 3 companies.. my verdict is… store if you can afford.. its still individual preference…. im investing my money in buying my little one an insurance :) … good luck on your pregnancy

  • SingleByDesign

    If you have the budget for it, why not? Its for your baby’s welfare. Had this been discovered way back I would definitely include it in my budget during my pregnancy but unfortunately the only thing that was available then was the screening test of babies after they were born. nnBest wishes to you both :)

  • Ally

    @ Charlie “Why – because as an example. someone like like me who isnt pregnant dont really bother to do more research. And in an advertorial post, usually wont talk about their disadvantages.”nnWTF so if u dont have acne but some blogger says pee got damn a lot of skincare benefits you will just smear it all over ur face anyway?

  • Fourfeetnine

    my package is about RM5k. i think you should talk to the consultant to see what’s best for you :)

  • Fourfeetnine

    yup it is ^^ good luck with yours too!

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hi Dayana, I thought more about what you said. When you said we have no tech here to extract and use, were you talking about all the diseases cord blood can cure? Or just for the nervous system? Cos there have been lots of news articles about successful stem cell transplants in Malaysia. I did do the research.

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hi Dayana, I thought more about what you said. When you said we have no tech here to extract and use, were you talking about all the diseases cord blood can cure? Or just for the nervous system? Cos there have been lots of news articles about successful stem cell transplants in Malaysia. I did do the research.

  • Anonymous

    At the start, when I read your post, I identified with it, being expecting as well. Then it turned out to be just another advertorial. I felt kind of led on, like I wonder if your words are indeed objective. It is preferable for a reader to know from the start, that this is an advertorial. I understand that it can be an advertorial and your opinion can still be objective, but it would be clearer to state its an advertorial from the start. Thank you. -Singaporean reader.

  • Anonymous

    (continued from my comment below) I just read your reader’s Charlie’s comment and your response. That’s similar to how I feel too. Your response, to say that to not state its an advertorial is because you want readers to have an open mind. Hey! You are talking about something serious. As a reader, I would like to know if you have any element of interest (e.g. monetary) when I read it and start believing a little. Charlie’s comments are

  • Anonymous

    (continued from my comment below) not irrelevant.

  • Fourfeetnine

    Obviously you didnt read my answer properly. I didnt NOT TAG the post as an ad; I specified at the bottom of the post. nnAnd I said I want you to read with an open mind as opposed to totally skipping it because you think it’s “fake”. If I don’t believe in something I wouldn’t write about it, simple as that. My blog is such a big part of me, do you really think I would compromise its integrity like that?

  • Anonymous

    Hi, referring to fourfeetnine’s response to my comment below: “Obviously you didnt read my answer properly. I didnt NOT TAG the post as an ad; I specified at the bottom of the post.” A tag as “audvertorial” is easily missed by a reader. I feel you should be upfront with your financial interest in this. nnOn your question below, “My blog is such a big part of me, do you really think I would compromise its integrity like that?” I was not questioning your integrity at all, or your thoughts on the benefits of cord blood banking. My earlier comment was simply a feedback/request for you to be upfront with your financial interest in this. Readers can make their own analysis on the independence of your blogpost. Thank you.

  • K

    I think you should read this article: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/private-cord-blood-banking-worth-price/story?id=10568271#.UeIZ4o2siSonnFor me, cord blood banking sounds like a big scam to prey upon worried new parents. The blood can’t be used on the child if he/she is suffering from a genetic disease. I thought about doing public cord blood donation though, where it is given to anyone who needs it

  • Fourfeetnine

    Hello! Why I said that about my integrity is cos you said after you knew it’s an ad “I felt kind of led on, like I wonder if your words are indeed objective. ” Weren’t you questioning my integrity then? I may be sponsored but it doesn’t mean my words are not honest. I think I’m known as a difficult blogger cos many times I’ve refused to proceed with a client who wanted me to say things I didn’t support. But of cos this is all behind the scenes and you don’t get to see that.

  • Fourfeetnine

    I really don’t think I’m not being upfront with this. I’ve been formatting my ads like this for years. I didn’t hide or disguise it. To me it doesn’t matter where I declare it as long as I do. I put in a lot of effort so yes I would like you to read it, and after you finish reading, you can decide for yourself the validity of my post. nnWhat about branded content or product placements in movies? Why do you not say the same about them? That’s why I kinda feel this is just nitpicking.

  • Fourfeetnine

    As long as what I write honestly and declare honestly if it’s sponsored, my conscience is clear. That’s all that matters to me. I accept your feedback but I won’t be taking action based on it :)

  • Anonymous

    Hello.. I am the one posting as ‘Anonymous’ below. Seeing your responses to my comments below, there is no point in commenting further. I shall not be reading your blog further. Thank you.

  • Fourfeetnine

    Wow. I wasn’t rude to you, neither was I saying stuff like “if you don’t like it get out of my blog”. I was merely explaining my pov honestly and not in a rude way at all. since you stated yours. As such I’m glad I don’t have to deal with you anymore. Thanks for the favor.

  • Fourfeetnine

    I see. Thanks for the info. I guess there’s still a lot of things to learn about cord blood banking. I hope I don’t ever need to use it either :(

  • YinYin

    after reading ur post and some discussion in forum then i know this thing is so interesting. even though i’m still single :P nBUT if u can afford why not. Is just some insurance for the baby in the future as there is always unforeseen circumstances even if everything is calculated in.nnOh yah,, maybe u can consider placenta encapsulation too! :pn

  • Anonymous
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