A controversial bit of medical technology, stem cells have been lauded as a miracle cure for many of our ailments. The main question for this piece will be whether stem cell storage is a financially sound decision, as it can be quite pricey. So, what are stem cells and should we keep them, given the choice?
Let us start by discussing what stem cells are. They are basic and immature cells that are yet to become another type of cell, like the cells in your muscles, your blood cells, or brain cells. That means that stem cells are like children before they decide on their career path.
The thing about stem cells is that they cannot be found just anywhere. As we mature, we lose them in favor of the cells we need to grow and develop. However, certain hospitals and organizations offer to preserve the umbilical cord of the newborn baby and extracting stem cells from either the blood or the tissue of the cord.
This isn’t just some creepy souvenir. Having stem cells in storage provides you with a perfect donor for many medical conditions that require one, for example, leukemia – the idea being that the cells regenerate the damaged tissue or blood by springing into action and becoming what your body needs. Your body also doesn’t reject the ‘donor’, since the stem cells in question are your cells, to begin with. The harvested cells can, ideally, be used up to 25 years after they have been frozen. Now, people like you and we at aids2008.org are already too old to store their stem cells, but it is an option many parents-to-be are open for.
Stem Cell Storage
There are several different institutions that offer to collect the umbilical cord, process it, and store the cells from either the blood or the tissue for a set period of time. Most of them focus on a one-year period and a one-time payment that covers everything from collecting to storing the samples and providing you with adequate counseling.
Now, how much does that cost? A one-year deal is usually around $1,500, give or take a few hundred, with a monthly fee of about $200. Lifetime deals go between $4,000 and $6,000. Mind you, these prices are something we have found during our research at a few randomly selected companies. In other words, prices may vary.
A Few Things to Consider
For some people, four figures may not seem like much if that means protecting your child from certain diseases in the future. However, there are a few things we have to take into account. First of all, children are expensive even without investments like this. Secondly, there are genetic conditions where the stem cells cannot be used as they are going to suffer the same affliction. Finally, this investment is much like buying insurance – if nothing happens, it’s money lost, but you would feel very lucky to have it should you need it. Is it worth it? Only if you can afford it.