We all love the freedom to choose, especially when it comes to shopping! But none of us ever shop blindly, do we? Instead, we all start with comparing the plethora of available product options and pick the best one for ourselves. This thumb rule is applied for picking even the most trivial stuff. But when it comes to choosing the right stem cell bank for preserving your baby’s precious stem cells, shouldn’t you be as prudent? Would you blindly pick just any bank or figure out what works best - community stem cell banking, private banking or public banking?
Now that we’ve got you thinking, allow us to help you. Having decided to preserve your baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells, the next step is, obviously, choosing the right bank. In this blog, we give you a low-down of the 3 different banking models - Private, Public and Community - to help you understand what they are and make an informed choice.
In private banking, parents pay a fee to store their baby’s cord blood. This fee, which is charged for processing and storage, varies from one private bank to another . However, the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) recommends that families in India should preferably store their baby’s cord blood stem cells in public banks rather than private banks 1. This is because the likelihood of the baby using its own stem cells (autologous) is <0.04% 2. Presently, autologous cord stem cells cannot be used in the treatment of metabolic disorders, haematological cancers, or diseases of genetic origin.
Now, let’s move on to the public banking model and understand what makes it different from private banking.
A public bank works on the concept of voluntary donation. Parents willingly donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood to public banks, thus creating a common pool for public usage. This way, anyone in need of a cord blood unit for transplantation treatment can approach the public bank.
However, while donating, parents forfeit their rights on the donated cord blood unit. For their part, the public banks ensure they collect qualified cord blood units from healthy pregnancies and disburse it to those in need, for a cost 3.
Having analysed both private and public banking systems, we now need to understand that the best option is a combination of both - the privilege of a private bank and common pool sharing of a public bank. Bridging this gap is LifeCell’s Community Stem Cell Banking. Here’s how:
Right at the onset, let us tell you that LifeCell is the only company in the world that offers a Community Stem Cell Banking program for cord blood storage.
This program is a hybrid of both public and private banking models with added benefits. Parents sign up to preserve their baby’s stem cells through an easily-affordable annual fee. Their baby’s cord blood stem cells are then added to a common pool which can be accessed anytime by the parents and other members of the community, for no extra cost.
LifeCell’s Community Stem Cell Banking model also addresses the challenges otherwise faced by Private and/or Public banks, like:
LifeCell boasts of a large inventory of 60,000 qualified & consented cord blood units (as opposed to 6500 of a public inventory).
Experts suggest that for an Indian patient to find a >97% chance of finding the right donor match, the size of the inventory should at least be 50,000 cord blood units 4. LifeCell’s 60,000 qualified & consented cord blood available units thus improve chances of finding a good match for Indian ethnicity.
LifeCell’s community stem cell banking program benefits the baby and also immediate family members like parents, siblings, and grandparents. With its add-on programs like Family Floater, these benefits can also be extended to the siblings of the parents.
These benefits are exclusively offered to members of LifeCell’s Community Stem Cell banking members. Through this model of sharing preserved stem cells exclusively amongst its community members, LifeCell meets the recommendations of medical bodies such as Indian Association of Paediatrics 5.
Now, having understood the working module of each type of stem cell banking program, let’s take a look at the benefits each of them offers and the limitations they come with.
Before we wrap up, here’s a detailed comparison of each stem cell banking model and benefits they offer. Check this and figure out what works best for you:
We hope that this detailed blog on the different models of stem cell banking programs has been helpful and informative to you. As you know by now, some of the banking programs come with grave limitations. Before you zero-in on one, make sure you keep in mind what each model offers, it's the benefits, costs, and service quality. LifeCell, being a pioneer of Community Stem Cell Banking in India, comes with years of experience, international accreditations, dual storage site facilities, state-of-the-art laboratories and many such benefits, to name a few.
It is not always that we make important decisions like preserving the baby’s cord blood stem cells. This once-in-a-lifetime decision not only impacts the baby’s future health but can also serve as a lifelong health assurance for the entire family, if chosen wisely. So, why not be doubly sure about it and follow the thumb rule?