Saturday, February 02, 2008

More Stem Cell Fear-Based Profiteering

So now women are given two opportunities to buy cellular insurance. The first is with their babies' cord blood. The second is with their own menstrual blood.

I have the same problems with the latter as with the former. Companies are charging a steep fee for a service one hopes never to need. And should one need it, there is no guarantee the product will help.

In fairness, there are some diseases that cord blood can help with. Especially blood diseases like leukemia or aplastic anemia. However, the times when families have had to retrieve cord blood are few and the number of times where that was the only route to treatment are even fewer. I hashed through a lot of this a couple of years ago.

Everything I said then I would apply to the menstrual blood storage idea. It is expensive, highly unlikely to ever be needed, and rarely the only successful treatment option. Add to that the uncertainty around the vitality of menstrual blood's stem cells ("The healthiest stem cells would come from the part of the menstrual cycle when the uterine lining regenerates," the article notes, not when the endometrium is shedding and dying) and the fact that any woman with a uterus can have stem cells harvested from her endometrium via biopsy, and the whole thing starts to look like a scam.



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