Health Beat: Pros and cons of banking your baby's stem cells


Umbilical cord stem cell banking can be expensive and controversial, but Jamie and Ben Page decided to bank their daughter Harlow's stem cells, just in case. Then, "just in case" became a reality.

"We had heard about cord blood banking and talked about it a lot and thought let's just go for it and have it just as a backup," said Jamie Page.

It turns out, they did need it. Harlow had cancer in her uterus.

"On the ultrasound, they immediately saw that there was a mass in her abdomen about the size of a grapefruit," Page said.

After a year of chemotherapy, the tumor was gone. Doctors wanted to keep it that way.

"So, when the doctors found out we actually had her own stem cells, they were very excited," Page said.

"I think that her umbilical cord cells were used as a boost to her own cells when we harvested her to have adequate cells for reconstitution," said Dr. Elaine Morgan, oncologist, Lurie Children's Memorial Hospital.

Morgan does not advocate private cord stem cell banking at birth to be saved for a healthy baby's later use because it's not clinically useful and it's expensive.

The Pages paid almost $2,000 for the initial banking fee, plus an extra $125 per year.

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Health Beat: Pros and cons of banking your baby's stem cells

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