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Umbilical Cord Blood Banking Industry Flourishes

Pregnant women are being inundated by marketing from private companies that store umbilical cord blood. This is how it works: Cord blood is extracted from the umbilical cord and shipped to the private bank, where it is processed to separate the stem cells, which are then deep frozen, typically in liquid nitrogen, for fees ranging from $1,000 to $1,740 per child plus a likely $95 annual storage fee. Research has shown that cord blood stem cells can be used as an effective alternative to bone marrow in some cases and the ads say it could potentially save the child's life from a range of serious diseases.

I wonder if anyone notices the utter irony of this practice. If the cord blood is so rich in beneficial substances, why do modern medical childbirth practices make sure that newborn babies are deprived of a good portion of it? When babies are first born, their umbilical cords are clamped and then cut almost immediately, while they are still pulsating, thereby depriving the babies of a good amount of the rich cord blood.

Yahoo! News April 9, 2004