I *so* hope that he looks like this...As we’ve come to learn, when you’re having a baby, you seem to get a lot more junk mail than usual.

The number of individual diapers and/or canisters of Similac that have come in the mail over the past few months is just crazy…

Of late, as the big day grows closer, we’ve been receiving countless glossy inserts in the mail heralding cord blood.

More specifically, “banking” umbilical cord blood.

For those that don’t have a pregnancy in the family (or haven’t in the past decade), the idea is that blood collected from the umbilical cord shortly after birth can cure diseases that may come up in your child’s earlier years so, in marketing-speak, it’s in your best interest to “bank” it for the future.

A surprising number of companies, at least ten, offer this seemingly sci-fi service and they’re all vying for my business.

The pitch is always the same.

They use guilt to sell their product.

It’s pretty creepy actually…

The most recent, which arrived yesterday, is from a company called ViaCord.

The photo on the front is of a baby on the floor where an electrical outlet “should” be. In the picture, the outlet is about 6 feet up on the wall with the caption, “Protect baby. That’s what mommas do.”

One sec, I’ll scan it…

Cord Blood Ad Slick

Okay, fair enough.

It’s kind of creative, I’ll give them that, and certainly more appealing to the eye than, say, an umbilical cord oozing blood or something.

Inside the fold, they claim that saving your baby’s cord blood is something “you’ve just got to do.”

Bluntly, all of the advertisements sugarcoat the exact same message, “If you don’t do this, your baby will DIE!” followed by an evil laugh.

In their words, it protects your baby (and apparently other family members too) from “over 70 diseases like Leukemia.”

Forgive my ignorance but I had no idea that there were 70 diseases like Leukemia.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how they meant it to be interpreted. Or maybe that was their plan.

Maybe there actually are 70 diseases just like Leukemia? I just don’t know…

The text continues, “In addition, cord blood is emerging as a treatment option for Type I Diabetes and Cerebral Palsy.”

Your baby’s cord blood is priceless.

Hmmmmm… funny that they don’t list what they’ll charge you to harvest it and then bank it…

I guess the real way to think about it is as insurance — a new-age kind of health insurance, of sorts.

I’m still not sold on it.

Neither is my wife so it’s very unlikely that we’ll invest in it when the big day arrives in a matter of weeks.

Furthering my confidence in our decision is the fine print:

The odds that a family member without a defined risk will need to use their child’s cord blood are low. There is no guarantee that the cord blood will be a match for a family member or will provide a cure. Autologous cord blood stem cells will not guarantee suitable treatment for all inherited genetic diseases.

Um… so why would I pay hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to do this?

It costs money but doesn’t guarantee anything…

Seems a little like snake oil to me…

(Or insurance, frankly… The kind that doesn’t actually cover anything.)

3 COMMENTS

  1. I’d definitely encourage you to see about donating your baby’s cord blood. Talk with your OB/midwife or the delivering hospital to find out if that’s an option for you. They have to be ready with the kit as soon as your baby is born.

    We did that for my son’s birth and it wasn’t a hassle for us at all. It’s great to know that my son’s cord blood can potentially save someone’s life or help with research!

    After we donated his cord blood, my husband and I decided to get on the bone marrow donor registries, since we figured if he can donate his stem cells, so can we.

  2. Funny you mention that Kacie…

    Seems ViaCord read my mind — today we received another postcard from them encouraging us to donate it rather than tossing it in the garbage.

    The postcard didn’t have a cute baby on it this time, rather, a photo of an open biohazard bucket…

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