…just a little space of expressions…..


Stem cells

Posted in sharing by chrisau on December 11, 2008
Tags: ,

I was pondering on whether to store my incoming baby’s umbilical cord stem cells, after attending a talk two weeks ago. FYI, to our typical ‘layman’ understanding, stem cells are master cells which can copied into other types of cells (like muscles cells, blood cells…etc) for healing of diseases.

It sounds a miracle to me! Most of the stem cells organizations claimed it can healed by replacing or regrowth the cells damaged by diseases like cancer, diabetes, leukemia and etc. It also can be used by the parents and siblings.

I probed further by asking questions and  summarized the pros and cons to the best of my knowledge:-

  • Almost a miracle breakthrough for blood related disorders like leukemia,thalassemia and etc.
  • Can be used for lots of diseases like cancer, diabetes,  heart disease and etc.
  • Can be use by parents and siblings, provided their cells ‘matches’
  • Consider affordable, compare to typical insurances (about Rm2500+ initial payment, Rm250 yearly maintenance)

However, here are the cons:-

  • It can only be used once as the stem cells from babies are not enough for further usage while the technology not mature yet to grow the stem cells in Malaysia.
  • No guaranteed it can be used on other family members, except the owner, unless the cells matched.
  • Technology still new, no comprehensive studies yet that the stem cells are still effective after some long donkey years in the storage.
  • Have to pay the yearly maintenance for the storage of the cells for LIFE, if you never utilised it or cancel it.
  • Not 100% guaranteed yet that it can cure the diseases , though there are some results out there. It’s mainly effective for blood related disorders at the moment.
  • No insurance payment for diseases that’s not listed in the terms and conditions of the policy for stem cells transplant. This can costs around Rm100k. So, if you want to use it for other diseases that’s not listed, you gotta fork out your own money.

My conclusion: It seems that the technology is still new and it’s more like a gamble to store the cells for the future as an insurance for disease. This is my opinion for now. (but it may changed in the future)

Here’s a good source from last week’s Sunday Star, which dwells on the promises and realities of stem cells at the MOMENT.

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10 Responses to 'Stem cells'

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  1. claire said,

    wei..i wrote of this stem post 2 times in my blog..yes..it is a miracle if can save lives

  2. chrisau said,

    Claire: Need more research on that, maybe when the technology matures in the future, it’s more useful. I only got a short time to decide..haha…

  3. sara said,

    Hi there,

    If I might weight as an unwilling expert on this. My opinion is that, if you can (and it is available in your area)please consider donating your baby’s cord to a public cord bank.

    Private cord banks pray on fear, or seek to provide some random hope that should your baby have one of these diseases you will have saved their life. The fact is that money spent on PRIVATE banking would be better spent child-proofing a home – the leading cause of injury and death in children

    There are reasons to bank privately, and those include a sibling with a condition that might benefit from a match (a sibling with cancer or genetic blood disorder for example can be saved by a sibling) .

    My daughter was born with Leukemia.
    My daughter was saved by a cord blood donated to PUBLIC cord bank.

    Even if I had saved my daughter’s cord it would have been rejected for fear that it reintroduce the same disease we were fighting against. (this is another con for your list – that it may be rejected in favor of an unrelated or sibling match)

    I have seen so many children die waiting for matches that never came, it breaks my heart to think that a match existed , in the private bank of a healthy child.

    Somewhere out there is a mother who donated her cord to a publica bank, and sitting accross from me eating her dinner is a child who was saved by it.

    thank you

  4. chrisau said,

    Thanks Sara. It’s something for me to ponder on, but I guess in my country, there may not be a public bank for cords.

  5. cleffairy said,

    Yes, I was informed about this as well, Chris, and if given the choice, I would without a doubt store the stem cells of my baby. Good insurance.

  6. chrisau said,

    cleffairy: Yeah, but also need to weight the pro and cons. it’s not as good as what the stem cells bankers claimed. Need more research on it before committing to it.

  7. eugene said,

    never thought of stem cell issues, i pray and claim that health is already mine,,,,,,hahahah.

    but seriously i really dont much about this issue, i just know there is one llisted company StemLife,,,,,if this is the future then i should invest in this company …jahahahaha again.

    take care my friend hope you are done with all the christmas shopping

  8. chrisau said,

    eugene: it’s a bio-insurance and of course, hope we don’t need it! It’s still a very new technology anyway. You can check out the company’s portfolio…seems to be growing..haha..

    Not really done with my xmas shopping but did some for CNY clothes for my kid and myself..haha..

  9. Sara said,

    Wow no one listened. It’s a waste of money, but you go ahead if it makes you feel better.

  10. chrisau said,

    Sara…. too bad, there’s no public banks in m’sia, else I may donate. Thanks for sharing.


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