Poker, Bluffing, Odds and Cord Blood Banking
Over the last decade the classic poker game known as Texas Hold’em has swept the nation. Almost every weekend, as I channel surf, I come across a poker tournament featuring chubby middle aged men wearing hats and dark sunglasses. They don’t want to give away their hands, so they conceal their eyes and attempt to avoid any revealing gesture. You can even walk into Bed, Bath, & Beyond and find poker themed snack plates, mugs, and coasters. Everywhere you go these days it is poker, poker, and more poker. Poker is a game of chance. Sometimes you hold them and sometimes you fold them. When I play, I avoid betting any more than I can afford to lose but enjoy the rush of a nice win.
The issues of odds and chance are of course central to the game of poker. However, they are also central to the decision of whether or not to store your newborn’s cord blood stem cells. There is an uplifting YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aIlpnHmj6g describing a young girl who did not store her own cord blood and who needed to find a close public match. She was very fortunate and appears to be doing well.
What was so striking about this story is that it notes that there are only 500,000 publicly available samples worldwide. This sound like a lot of samples, but let’s recognize that the world’s population is roughly 7,000,000,000 (seven billion). If we pretend that these numbers represent cards instead of cord blood samples and people, ask yourself the question: “If I have 500,000 chances to pull a card I am looking for, and there are seven billion cards, what is the likelihood that I will find the card I want?” The answer is you will have a one in 14,000 chance of finding the card. If you were playing poker, you would fold the hand or more smartly, never enter the game.
Of course, with cord blood banking, you have only one chance to store your newborn’s cord blood. There is no going back and no way to know if you will need it in the future. Do you want to gamble? If your child needs a cord blood transplant in the future, there are 500,000 samples worldwide…do you want to gamble? At this point in stem cell preservation science, there is only about a one in 1400 chance that your child will need the sample…want to gamble?
It is for this reason and many others that expectant parents need to get cord blood facts. It is these kinds of issues that make me believe that as many expectant parents as possible should look into cord blood banking and store their newborn’s cord blood. More discoveries are not just around the next corner, they seem to be occurring with every step. In 1983, the odds that a cord blood sample would be used were one in 40,000. There is every reason to believe that cord blood samples will one day be used for everyday therapies like cosmetic surgery, knee ligament replacement, and burn repair. If this comes true, everyone will one day use the cord blood that a loving parent decided to store. This is why it is important to get cord blood facts and to weigh cord blood pros and cons.
So, whether you are planning a homebirth or a standard birth, take the time to answer the question: “Why store cord blood?” Look at cord blood banking cost and see if it is affordable. Take the time to compare cord blood banks and review stem cell therapy. Even if you choose not to proceed with cord blood banking, you’ll be glad for the knowledge you gain and more comfortable with the decision you make. Is cord blood banking worth it? With enough cord blood facts, you will be in an excellent position to judge.
Knowing when to hold and when to fold them is for poker players. As an expectant parent, stay as far away from the bluffing game as you can and you are likely to sleep quite well knowing that you have done all you can do to protect your family’s health.