One of the groups I work with is a private cord blood bank and all the controversy surrounding them is driving me nuts. If you aren't pregnant or didn't have a baby in the last couple of years you may not have heard of it. When a woman has a baby, the blood that runs through the umbilical cord can be collected and frozen, stored to be used to treat certain diseases.
There are a number of large cord blood banks and the way they do business can be somewhat sleazy. They misinterpret statistics to make it sound much more likely that a family will need to use their infant's cord blood. They really pressure parents to sign up, telling women who are in their sixth month of pregnancy that they could deliver any minute and need to get their cord blood collection kit (for a woman giving birth in her sixth month, the least of her concerns is collecting her baby's cord blood). Yes, the liklihood of using your baby's cord blood is difficult to calculate, yes, it is better to sign up earlier rather than later. What rubs me the wrong way is how these people try to frighten pregnant women at a very vulnerable time of their life.
Since I am the marketing person, I have some influence with what is communicated to potential parents. While we would sell more cord blood banking contracts if we tried to pressure these parents, I wouldn't feel right about it. While we may not be as large as some of our competitors, at least I can sleep at night.
Another issue that is kind of ticking me off is that one of the large companies has developed a pay-per-post (PPP) program. For those of you who don't know about it, PPP allows organizations to pay bloggers to right what they are told. It may be my father's influence, but I just don't think that is right. While I might choose to write about something I truly believe is great, many of these blogger know nothing about cord blood and are just writing about it for $5.00 (also, I like to think if I were going to sell myself, it would be worth more than 5 bucks). Now that I have had a chance to vent a little, please return to your regularly scheduled reading.
Most of the people who write about it have an agenda (even I write a cord blood blog for work and that totally has an agenda). Whether they are trying to encourage parents to bank their infant's cord blood or encourage parents to donate to a public bank, everyone has an agenda and all advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If you can afford cord blood banking, it is definitely worth doing, but don't feel bad if you choose not to do it. While there is a remote possiblity you might need the cord blood, public banks and bone marrow are other options that are currently viable.