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Monday, November 30, 2009

Stem Cells and Breastfeeding

Last weekend, my sister (who is almost 7 months pregnant) and I were talking about the advantages of cord blood banking. I had read about the benefits of cord blood banking in my ob-gyne's clinic. However, the costs were quite prohibitive. In my sister's case, their hospital's initial fee was P70,000 (about $1,500) plus yearly storage fee of P7,500 or (about $160) for the next 10 years. Stan and I decided to just donate Naima's cord blood to the public bank but even then, it was rejected since only very little was collected.
Our talk about cord blood banking reminded me of a breastfeeding benefits news which was published last week. In a study made by Dr. Mark Cregan at Medela (now you know why Medela pumps are expensive as they fund studies like this!), 3 types of stem cells were found in breastmilk -- the only adult tissue containing more than 1 type of stem cell.
In another article, Dr. Cregan emphasized and highlighted the differences between formula milk and breast milk.
“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”
Wouldn't it be great if stem cells can indeed be harvested from breastmilk in the future and we won't worry about cord banking anymore?

1 comment:

Melodie said...

That would be fantastic! Especially if moms don't meet the criteria for being able to bank their baby's cord blood, like having a homebirth or cesarean birth.

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