Don't bank your baby's stem cells‚ it's a money-making scam

Health experts have warned that storing a baby’s stem cells is largely a “scam”.
Health experts have warned that storing a baby’s stem cells is largely a “scam”.
Image: 123RF/luchschen

Health experts have warned that storing a baby's stem cells is largely a “scam”.

They say the procedure – done as “insurance” so the stem cells can be used later if the child ever gets cancer – is and unlikely to ever be useful.

Thousands of South African parents have paid more than R20‚000 each to store their babies’ umbilical cord blood and tissue for stem cells. But many do not know that‚ in most cases‚ blood cancers can’t be treated with a child’s own cord blood as the stem cells inside it may have the same mutation that led to the cancer.

Paediatrician Alastair McAlpine said he would never store blood for a child.

“Saving your baby’s cord blood and tissue is an expensive scam‚ especially in SA.”

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