When parents in Cameroon are expecting a new baby, they have many important and significant decisions to make, especially when it involves your precious little person who is about to join your family.
It is vital to do thorough research to allow you to make informed decisions, especially regarding cord blood banking.
Family vs. Community Cord Blood Banks
An important question remains: Should you select family (private) or community cord blood banking?
Private and public banking have pros and cons, and it is a good idea to consider the best option for your family before making your decision.
Private Cord Blood Banks
When storing umbilical cord blood stem cells in a (private) cord blood bank, the parent/s pays a fee for collecting, transporting, processing, testing, and storing the cord blood and cord tissue. The storage period is a minimum of 20 years.
Cord blood and tissue stem cells stored in this setting are exclusively reserved for family use and available without delay.
The stem cells are available to the family should they be required in clinical trials, such as treating neurological conditions, including autism and cerebral palsy. The parents have full rights and access to the cells during the entire storage period, should they be required for medical treatment.
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- HLA matching is included in the family storage package: Should the stem cells be required for a transplant, HLA matching will be paid for by the Family Cord Blood Bank.
- A high probability of a match: The child’s stem cells will be a perfect HLA match for themselves, and there is a 25% chance of being an ideal match for a sibling.
- No additional charges, and the contract is straightforward: If cord blood stem cells are required for treatment from a Family Cord Blood Bank, there are no additional charges or fees for making the cord blood unit available to the patient at the Transplant Centre. Your contract stipulates no additional release charges.
- Various treatment options are available for the family: Autologous and allogeneic stem cell therapy have been used to treat more than 80 diseases, including hematological and immunological disorders.
Community Cord Blood Banks
Donating cord blood to community cord blood banks is not ‘free.’ Someone must pay for the collection, transport, processing, testing, and storage, whether the parents, a third party, or the State.
The collected cord blood stem cells are not reserved exclusively for the family or child (the child or a sibling).
At any time during the storage period, parent/s may be informed of the planned use of the cord blood stem cells for a matched, unrelated patient. Should the parent/s not agree to release the stem cells to the unrelated patient, a substantial penalty fee will be applicable.
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First, come, first use: Should the cord blood stem cell unit be used for a matched, unrelated patient, it will no longer be available to the child or the family for established clinical treatments or clinical trials.
No exclusive rights: A family participating in a community program gives up certain rights and potential access to the donated cord blood unit. The cord blood unit may be sold to a patient in need, who is granted full rights to use it for an established clinical indication or in a clinical trial.
The contract is more complex: As with any agreement, it is essential to read the fine print and be sure that terms and conditions are fully understood, particularly concerning the availability (or lack of availability) of the stem cells and additional costs that may be incurred.
Additional charges and costs: The cord blood unit may be available to a patient from Cameroon. Cord blood units imported into Cameroon can cost over 13,000,000 FCFA each.
Check out the availability of cord blood banking in Cameroon.