Posted: Nov 03, 2011
When you’re expecting, how do you know what advice to take and what to write off as an old wives’ tale? Go straight to an expert! Dr. Jeff Thurston’s highly acclaimed book, 1000 Questions About Your Pregnancy, has the answers you need. Doctor Thurston draws from nearly 30 years of Ob/Gyn experience and the delivery of more than 5,000 babies to give readers quick, reassuring answers. After the recent release of the fourth edition, we found time with the busy doctor, author and father to ask him a few of our own burning questions about cord blood banking.
CBR: What is the most frequently asked question from moms about cord blood banking?
JT: The one I get the most is, “Would you tell me to bank my newborn’s stem cells if I were your daughter having your grandchild?” And my answer: My daughter IS pregnant and she doesn't have to ask! She has heard me say for years that I would beg, borrow or steal to have been able to have my own children's cord blood preserved.
CBR: What is the most frequently asked question by dads?
JT: Dads ask me, “What is the total cost and what are the chances of us ever really needing this?” So I talk them through costs and then I explain that when stem cells were only being used as replacement for bone marrow transplants used in various [types of] leukemia, lymphomas and immune disorders, of which there are roughly 80 that can be treated with cord blood stem cells. But that is almost passé now. Regenerative medicine is where it’s at! Stem cells can be used to regenerate tissues — neural, cardiovascular, skin, eye or muscular.
CBR: In your book, you offer “no nonsense” answers. Why is that so important?
JT: Patients are unsure and truly looking for guidance, not introduction to more controversy. If a physician believes something is the right thing to do, he or she ought to be willing to say so definitively and state their case. I tell patients even if there were no proven uses at all for stem cell collection yet, I would still advocate for them to collect because of the future potential.
CBR: Why do you think it’s important for parents to consider cord blood banking, and what would you tell parents who are weighing their options for cord blood banking?
JT: It is critical for parents to do their due diligence on cord blood banking for several reasons:
• First, this is a one-time opportunity for them
• Second, while stem cells can be obtained from some adult tissues, typically those are much less proliferative and less flexible than cord blood stem cells
• Third, make sure the cord blood company you choose is experienced and financially sound. As the number of new potential uses changes, so do start-up businesses who want in on a good thing. Companies like CBR,who have been around for a long time, are the least likely to fail and lose your irreplaceable cord blood stem cells. At the same time, CBR is also the most experienced at processing, storage and transplants.
• And lastly, new uses in terms of regenerative medicine are being explored daily. There are now clinical trials using a child’s own stem cells for treatment of cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, juvenile diabetes and other adult stem cell research for heart diseases, spinal cord injury, burns, dementias, eye problems, and autoimmune diseases like lupus, Crohn's disease, scleroderma, and so on.
1000 Questions About Your Pregnancy is newly updated with simple, concise answers for expectant parents. It’s available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook and iTunes.