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Cord Blood Banking and the Selling of Safety

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Two weeks ago, the Boston Globe ran a couple of pieces on a local event touted as the "Ultimate Baby Shower," which turned out to be a corporate event designed to push the idea of cord blood banking. The Globe's initial front-page article played the story pretty straight, but a follow-up column expressed horror at the idea, calling the event "a rain of fear."

Cord blood banking is one of those things that seems to make a lot of sense -- in theory. Stem cells from cord blood are not snake oil. They really can treat certain cancers. And though the price is high, the emotional pitch is appealing. Who wouldn't want to pay a little extra for that insurance policy? It was an argument that worked for me -- once anyway. We ponied up and banked cord blood for our first kid, but the doubts about whether it was money well-spent convinced us that it wasn't worth it, and we didn't bank again.

I'm sure there is room for a healthy debate about whether the small chance of a cancer cure is worth the large checks needed to bank cord blood, but for now, I'm standing with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has a clear position on the issue: "Cord blood donation should be discouraged when cord blood stored in a bank is to be directed for later personal or family use." (They also go on to note, "Cord blood-banking recruitment practices should be developed with an awareness of the possible emotional vulnerability of pregnant women.")

The cord blood topic raises the larger issue of where to draw the line when it comes to caution. Some stuff, such as car seats or bike helmets, are no-brainers. Other items being pushed as must-haves, including cord blood, are almost certainly not worth it. But there is a litany of gray areas where it's not as clear. Are outlet covers worth the choking risk? Do you really need those little foam padded things for all the sharp edges in your house? When is a toddler stable enough to handle stairs without a safety gate? Can you really trust the five-second rule?

In today's safety-conscious world, it's hard to recommend erring on the side of danger, but the fear-driven pitch for cord blood is an excellent reminder that there's a ton of marketing muscle behind the better-safe-than-sorry message. Given that reality, how do you all separate the real risks from the trumped-up ones?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  August 14, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Health , Pregnancy
Previous: Off With the Training Wheels | Next: Ten of Cinema's Most Clueless Parents

Comments


"there's a ton of marketing muscle behind the better-safe-than-sorry message."

And an agenda. Consider the source before you decide.

Posted by: You kids keep off of my lawn! | August 14, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Did you move to Illinois yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

We wanted to harvest my daughter's cord blood to donate to a collective bank nearby. We didn't see the sense in saving it privately, but wanted some good to be able to come of it. Turns out, an OR at 2:00 am is so not the place to enforce those wishes, and DD's cord blood got discarded with the rest of our birth plan.

As far as safety goes, it generally comes down to common sense and each individual kid. We took our stair gates down right around the time DD turned two, and would never have considered corner bumpers. She just wasn't the kind of kid that needed them. The extent of our baby proofing was outlet covers, bookcase straps and a lock on the cabinet holding our cleaning supplies.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 14, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Did you move to Illinois yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:01 AM

Check Brian's blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I know 2 children who are alive today because of bone marrow transplants from cord blood. They both had leukemia that would not go into remission using just chemotherapy. They were no marrow matches in the family or from adult donors in the registry. I agree that cord blood should not be banked solely for personal family use - the chances of your family actually needing it are quite low. But I would encourage people to still bank so the blood is available for research and other life-saving procedures. I think there are organizations out there that will absorb the costs.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | August 14, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

We did like NewSAHM: we had the option to donate to a collective bank nearby, so we did. It's there if someone else's kid needs it, and it will likely be there if our kid needs it. And it didn't cost us anything.

On the other hand, did anyone actually "trust" the five-second rule? Even as a kid, I thought that was just something parents made up to explain why sometimes they say you can eat something you dropped, and sometimes not.

Posted by: Laura | August 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The extent of our baby proofing was outlet covers, bookcase straps and a lock on the cabinet holding our cleaning supplies.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 14, 2008 8:11 AM

Wow! Shortly after DS learned how to walk, he became an expert lockpicker and despite many precautions, would end up on the sidewalk in front of the house, once in the middle of the night. Yikes! I ended up putting his crib in my bedroom and moving a heavy dresser in front of the bedroom door.

Posted by: Been there | August 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"On the other hand, did anyone actually "trust" the five-second rule?"

Never heard of it. Is it a regional expression?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Soon the rich will employ the poor to grow spare parts in their womb for medical harvesting.

Posted by: Frankenstein's Granddaughter | August 14, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of it. Is it a regional expression?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:36 AM


No, you are just a rube.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of it. Is it a regional expression?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:36 AM


No, you are just a rube.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:42 AM

Shucks. The MMs have started.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

As a molecular biologist (writing about cancer clinical trials) and the wife of a neurobiologist, this marketing scheme bugs me no end. My SIL and a coworker (both non-scientists with not much disposable income) both went for this (and registered for it - SIL informed everyone by an email from the banking company - ICK). They didn't ask my opinion so I didn't give it.

There is very little data on how long these cells can be banked and then used for a rescue (transplant). The amount of money they extract is outrageous. These companies are thwarting efforts to expand or even start up regional public cord blood banks, which should be the goal. I gave birth in DC and would like to have donated the cord blood to a public bank, but there wasn't a system set up 2.5 years ago. I hope they've got their act together by now, but I'm not holding my breath. My daughter had to be taken out quickly (cord 2X around her neck) so there wouldn't have been anything to donate anyway, but it would have been ideal if it were possible.

Posted by: MaryB | August 14, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Never heard of it. Is it a regional expression?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:36 AM

8:36 could have easily clicked on the hyperlink that Brian provided! It doesn't take a rocket scientist!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Check Brian's blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:16 AM


No, I want him to tell us here. It was the topic for one of his columns here, after all!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I like the Am Acad of Pediatrics position that "Cord blood-banking recruitment practices should be developed with an awareness of the possible emotional vulnerability of pregnant women." Duh! That's *precisely* what they have in mind! "How can we make this as emotionally fraught as possible? How much higher can we price this because people will be making the decision based on emotion rather than data?" Puhleez, this is as manipulative as it gets.

Posted by: topicaltimely | August 14, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

8:36 could have easily clicked on the hyperlink that Brian provided! It doesn't take a rocket scientist!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:51 AM

Yes and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the nuances in the 8:36 post.

Posted by: They're so dumb | August 14, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the nuances in the 8:36 post.

Posted by: They're so dumb | August 14, 2008 9:01 AM

The nuance that the original poster had never read the NYT? (maybe even heard of the NYT?)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the 5 second rule is a little regional. Where I come from... it was the 3 second rule.

The few times that food has fallen on the floor, they usually grab it and scarf it down before we can make any decision be it 3 seconds, 5 seconds or we don't eat food that has fallen on the floor.

In general, I suspect that my honey and I are slacker parents. I don't think we mean to be but he is somewhat new and I am very new at having children in the house and dealing with them and dealing with getting my own life accomplished. How anyone gets anything meaningful done while 2 kids are underfoot is a mystery to me.

Our kids seem to be old enough that cleaning supplies have no interest. They have no interest in adult pills but we keep the children medication out of the way. Once one child gets some Tylenol, the other child wants some candy too. It goes in ear and out the other when we tell them it is not candy but medication.

In general, we have not child proofed the house and have had few problems with the kids getting into anything.

Posted by: Billie | August 14, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

8:36 could have easily clicked on the hyperlink that Brian provided! It doesn't take a rocket scientist!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:51 AM

Yes and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the nuances in the 8:36 post.

Posted by: They're so dumb | August 14, 2008 9:01 AM

Hey, don't use big words like "nuance" and "rocket." Some of the fly-over folks who post on this blog don't know what they mean.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"emotional vulnerability of pregnant women"

Mental instability of females accepted by the medical community? What next?

Posted by: another dig at women | August 14, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey, don't use big words like "nuance" and "rocket." Some of the fly-over folks who post on this blog don't know what they mean.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 9:22 AM

LOL Does anyone use "hyperlink"?

Posted by: Check the url | August 14, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

We did not bank our cord blood because there was not a public bank in our area at the time and I was not going to shell out the ridiculous sum of money to bank it privately. With my first daughter we baby proofed extensively! We fell right into the trap and bought every safety gadget on the planet. With number 5, we have one gate on the basement stairs and most of the electrical outlet covers are in place. We never installed cabinet locks at this house and she navigates the other 2 flights of stairs just fine. She is about to move into the toddler bed because she climbs out of her crib with ease and I will probably put a gate on her door so she can't roam the house in the middle of the night. Once she figures out how to climb it, I am not sure what we'll do.

Posted by: Momof5 | August 14, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

LOL Does anyone use "hyperlink"?

Posted by: Check the url | August 14, 2008 9:29 AM

You need to ask AB!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I always suspected Julia of hiding something in the chicken!

"And now we'll turn this delicious eclair into an explosive device. Remember to knead the C4 into the butter with an even pushing motion."

Posted by: Bawlmer | August 14, 2008 9:36 AM

Posted by: from a troll because it is funny! | August 14, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Cord blood-banking recruitment practices should be developed with an awareness of the possible emotional vulnerability of pregnant women."

D@mn Commies don't respect the Capitalist system!

Posted by: i miss the cold war | August 14, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I really wanted to donate the cord blood, but our hospital charged money to extract and store it for donation so I didn't bother. If I was at a hospital that did so for free, I would definitely have donated.

Posted by: kt | August 14, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Wow! Shortly after DS learned how to walk, he became an expert lockpicker and despite many precautions, would end up on the sidewalk in front of the house, once in the middle of the night."

That's why I mentioned that the level of babyproofing needed depends on the kid. My daughter hasn't ever tried to unlock a door or climb out of her crib, so we didn't need to do much babyproofing. Other kids are different.

I do admit I like the One Step Ahead catalog for the amusement value of looking through it's pages of safety gear. They sell everything from helmets and kneepads for crawling kids to harnesses to keep new walkers from falling down to plastic guards to prevent kids from touching the DVD player. I cannot imagine buying even a fraction of that stuff, but someone must.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 14, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

what's "cord blood"? i'm from fly-over land and we don't learn about things like that.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

My 3 YO will open the front door and go out, no matter how many times I tell him not to. I am happy that we have our alarm on at night, because I am frightened that he'd wake up (or sleepwalk, he sort of does that now) and go out - at least the alarm would wake us up...

Posted by: atlmom | August 14, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

NewSAHM: my friend was over and we had just gotten one of those catalogues in the mail...he doesn't have kids. He looked through it and asked where the bubble wrap for the kids was. He thought it was ridiculous...

Posted by: atlmom | August 14, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Does the "five second rule" have anything to do with sex? Something about not getting pregnant?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Harold Maggee learned of the five second rule from his own young kids. Is he a rube?

Posted by: Get over yourselves | August 14, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Does the "five second rule" have anything to do with sex? Something about not getting pregnant?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:11 AM

Only if you don't have it wrapped up!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Harold Maggee learned of the five second rule from his own young kids. Is he a rube?

Posted by: Get over yourselves | August 14, 2008 10:41 AM


Yup, just like you who can't even get the guy's name correct. Harold McGee!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Harold Maggee learned of the five second rule from his own young kids. Is he a rube?

Posted by: Get over yourselves | August 14, 2008 10:41 AM


Yup, just like you who can't even get the guy's name correct. Harold McGee!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:44 AM

Too many pork chops on a stick?
911 Grammar Police!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Re: One Step Ahead. Our first and only (at least for now) just turned one. I admit that I have no idea which items of "gear" are really needed and which are not, so I ask other, more experienced parents their opinions. I saw the knee pads for crawlers in the One Step catalog and I thought, "oh, this would be great to protect baby's knees on the hard wood and tile floors..." Needless to say, when I asked other parents about this, they laughed their heads off and then said, "No ValGal, that is not necessary..." Live and learn, right?

Posted by: VaLGaL | August 14, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Discussion of "Best Law Firms for Women":
http://www.abovethelaw.com/

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I didn't bank our daughter's cord blood. This whole racket depends on the company existing in the future and on any therapy derived from cord blood not being supplanted by something else in the future...like, say, stem cells.

Posted by: Mike B-C | August 14, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

We have W and the cult of the fetus to thank for slowed scientific research progress on stem cells. Maybe they have a financial interest in the cord blood storage business.

Posted by: ain't capitalism great? | August 14, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

atlmom - I had a friend whose kid would leave. She put a latch on the door up high were kiddo couldn't get to it. Sometimes its like living with bears isn't it!

Posted by: moxiemom | August 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

atlmom - I had a friend whose kid would leave. She put a latch on the door up high were kiddo couldn't get to it. Sometimes its like living with bears isn't it!

Posted by: moxiemom | August 14, 2008 12:15 PM

My kid figured out how to get to the latch - he'd seen Mommy standing on a ladder while installing the latch!!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

fr atlmom:

>My 3 YO will open the front door and go out, no matter how many times I tell him not to. I am happy that we have our alarm on at night, because I am frightened that he'd wake up (or sleepwalk, he sort of does that now) and go out - at least the alarm would wake us up...

I'd add an additional lock high enough so your little escape artist (jk!) can't get out....

Posted by: Alex | August 14, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We have W and the cult of the fetus to thank for slowed scientific research progress on stem cells.
---------------------------------------------------------

But what about all those wonderful Europeans esp. the French? The resident blogger here always seem to think that the Europeans do anything better than the U.S.

Why haven't they advanced stem cell research to the point of everyday application?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

We never used any household baby safety products, not even gates for the stairs. as far as injuries go that required emergency medical attention:

My oldest daughter tripped over a soccer ball during PE at school and sprained her wrist.

The other 3 emergencies came from my 4th child, boy, all before he turned 5. 10 stitches in forehead from running into wall (about 1 foot away from me and Mrs Lion). A bedpost injury while playing with cousins that resulted An eyelid rip and needed to be glued back on. And another 30 stitches or so when he fell from a ladder while playing on neighbor's outdoor playhouse.

No safety devices short of the plastic bubble wrap could have prevented these injuries.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

No safety devices short of the plastic bubble wrap could have prevented these injuries.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 12:40 PM

What about the injury to your son's penis when nurse Mrs. Lion messed up the post-circumcision care?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the DandyLion cubs won't last long enough to reproduce.

Posted by: Darwinism takes it course | August 14, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"What about the injury to your son's penis when nurse Mrs. Lion messed up the post-circumcision care?"

I wouldn't classify that as an injury.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Sounds like the DandyLion cubs won't last long enough to reproduce."

I think every parent has that fear. Salesmen have even tried to sell me a life insurance policy on my kids. No way! I can't understand why anybody would want to gain profit from the death of their child.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Cord blood bank? EWWWWW! YUCK!!!!! What will you be saving next, poopy diapers? Obviously you people can't produce normal, healthy children. Mom's litter of 4 only suffered one broken arm (mine) when I fell off a horse at age 5. The horse was sold the next day. Even my two brothers never had stitches, no football injuries, no knocked out teeth, no trampoline mishaps. Either your kids are enormously clumsy or they just want attention.

Posted by: No bubble wrap here | August 14, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"What about the injury to your son's penis when nurse Mrs. Lion messed up the post-circumcision care?"

I wouldn't classify that as an injury.


Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 12:59 PM


OMG.....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't understand why anybody would want to gain profit from the death of their child.


Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 1:08 PM

Funeral and other related expenses, moron. Grow up!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Sounds like the DandyLion cubs won't last long enough to reproduce."

God's gift to the nation.

Posted by: Bless you | August 14, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous 1:14 was stupid enough to buy the policy. What a chump!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous 1:14 was stupid enough to buy the policy. What a chump!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:21 PM

Have you ever buried a loved one?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever buried a loved one?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:31 PM


Funeral and other related expenses, moron. Grow up!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:14 PM

------------------------------------------

Maybe Anon and Dandylion aren't buying into the huge profit machine that is the funeral business. The machine that pulls needed money out of grieving pockets by using equal helpings of guilt and guile.

"And, of course, you will want that silk pillow with satin lace to lay the head of the dearly departed upon. It is truly a way to memorialize, respect and honor the dead."

WHAT A RIP OFF!

Dead is dead. The living need to get over it!

Posted by: Put me in a pine box, I will not care! | August 14, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So if even the docs admit it's a bit of a scam, why did my OB give me a bag of worthless promotional magazines and baby registry crap in a bag covered with a cord blood banking ad? (And yes, there were also formula samples in said bag.) We didn't do that for our first, and don't plan to with our second, but it seems really disheartening that if the medical community doubts the practice that they turn around and give their patients the ads.

Posted by: newly pregnant with second | August 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

No, I want him to tell us here. It was the topic for one of his columns here, after all!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 8:53 AM

WAAAAA! WAAAAAA!! 8:53 is a big baby who must dictate the words of others.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Anon and Dandylion aren't buying into the huge profit machine that is the funeral business."

Possibly, but Dandylion is broke and probably would pay for a funeral with credit and spend even more than appropriate.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

My take on the recommedation is that you should donate cord blood for the benefit of whoever needs it and not to keep for your family.

I think that's probably a good idea. As a parent you might consider the fee for that to be your contribution to the community good.

Then again, cancer isn't always totally random. If you think it might rear it's ugly head in your family, why not bank it?

My sons were recently blood typed to see if they can donate bone marrow to their father. They are a match for each other. We made sure to tell them that in case they need one another in the future.

Posted by: MaryM | August 14, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"there were also formula samples in said bag."

newly pregnant with second, some doctors are like drug dealers, well actually, many doctors *ARE* drug dealers, though licensed. Anyway, they operate on the same principle - the first doses are free!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"My take on the recommedation is that you should donate cord blood for the benefit of whoever needs it and not to keep for your family.

I think that's probably a good idea. As a parent you might consider the fee for that to be your contribution to the community good. "

WHA?? Do something for a stranger?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

newly pregnant with second, some doctors are like drug dealers, well actually, many doctors *ARE* drug dealers, though licensed. Anyway, they operate on the same principle - the first doses are free!


Posted by: DandyLion | August 14, 2008 2:04 PM

DandyLion- the OP resident expert on drug dealers. And doctors. And kids. And debt. Wow! This guy knows everything...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

DandyLion- the OP resident expert on drug dealers. And doctors. And kids. And debt. Wow! This guy knows everything...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:10 PM

Except how to use a condom.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea if cord blood banking was around when older son was born in '92. If it was, it wasn't offered to us - I was under general anesthesia for the crash C-section, DH was trying not to freak out and panic with his wife on the table with her uterus hanging out and his new baby a limp, blue blob surrounded by medical staff.

I think maybe we signed over younger son's cord blood to one of those free community banks. But I wasn't really thinking about that - too blissed out on the incredible, big, healthy baby, and the successful VBAC.

My best guide to safety for the kids has always been DH's sister. Whenever we're in doubt, we consult with her. She's usually already done a ton of research on the pros and cons of whatever-it-is. She can sum it all up neatly, and give us the important points to make a good decision. And we don't always end up with the same decision she made for her son, but that's okay too.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that this should be a more public service for all- like blood banks. Shouldn't this just be an extension of that?

Do pregnant women ever get tired of being pandered to and considered weak and less than a competent adult? Or do they enjoy the vacation and promote it?

Posted by: Liz D | August 14, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

To newly pregnant with second: My OB told me last week (I'm now entering the third trimester) that there was a new law stating that he had to talk to me about cord blood. He handed me pamphlets from two private cord blood banking companies along with my hospital admissions form. This seemed very strange to me ... has anyone heard whether this is an actual state or federal law now (I live in Virginia)??

Posted by: Pregnant with #2 | August 14, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

WHA?? Do something for a stranger?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:07 PM

Yes, of course! It's like donating blood - you have no idea who's going to receive it, just that someone will have a medical need. Someday the person in need could be someone you love, or even you, and you want to *know* that blood (from strangers, most likely) will be available. So, having blood available for loved ones means that it will be available to strangers, too.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

WHA?? Do something for a stranger?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 2:07 PM

Doing something without a profit motive is part of the Commie conspiracy.

Posted by: America, love it or leave it! | August 14, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Do pregnant women ever get tired of being pandered to and considered weak and less than a competent adult? Or do they enjoy the vacation and promote it?

Posted by: Liz D | August 14, 2008 2:30 PM

I suspect that depends on the individual woman's personality, and on the circumstances.

With my first pregnancy, I remember vividly how much I resented being told that I was considered disabled for fire drills and fire department standards, and I was supposed to have a "buddy" to walk me down one flight of stairs for a fire drill. I was running up and down the stairs all day long during the normal work day, and I did NOT need to wait around fo an escort in case of fire.

With my 2nd pregnancy I had a lot of back pain. If I was walking around it was okay. Sitting down was okay, too. But if I had to stand still - oh, no! And I was commuting on BART (living in Oakland and working in San Francisco), with the aisles too crammed with standing commuters so there was no way I could pace the aisle, and nobody who gets one gives up a seat, not even the ones reserved for disabled, if they can possibly pretend not to notice someone who needs it. So, I got very good at standing over able-bodied people reading their newspapers, and shoving my huge belly through those papers, so there was no way my target could keep pretending they hadn't noticed me.

So, for me at least, I used and even demanded extra care and consideration where I needed it, and didn't like it at all, even resented it, where it was unnecessary. I'm sure other women who've been pregnant have different views though.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I was under general anesthesia for the crash C-section, DH was trying not to freak out and panic with his wife on the table with her uterus hanging out and his new baby a limp, blue blob surrounded by medical staff.

Sue
Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 2:29 PM


For sure there was none of this stuff when my kid was born, but I also have an off point birth horror story I could easily incorporate into today's topic.....

Posted by: Incredibly dull and off point | August 14, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

So, for me at least, I used and even demanded extra care and consideration where I needed it, and didn't like it at all, even resented it, where it was unnecessary. I'm sure other women who've been pregnant have different views though.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 2:54 PM

Yeah, I wish you would shut up. That's my view.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Do pregnant women ever get tired of being pandered to and considered weak and less than a competent adult? Or do they enjoy the vacation and promote it?

Posted by: Liz D | August 14, 2008 2:30 PM

Do lesbians ever get tired of stereotypes?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I wish you would shut up. That's my view.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 3:03 PM

Nobody cares about your view, troll.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

While I support donating cord blood to community/public banks, there is gathering evidence that the best use of cord blood is to let the new baby have it. If you don't clamp or cut the cord right away, the cord pulsates while the placenta is detaching and pumps the cord blood into the baby, leaving little in the cord. This additional few ounces of blood has surprising benefits for baby, including better pulmonary function, reduced anemia up to several months later, and reduced cranial bleeding in premies. Just google or google scholar) delayed cord cutting. Best part - doing what's good for baby at no extra cost! its the get-out-of-cord-blood-guilt free card.

Of course, my baby too had to be rushed out due to complications, so you plan and hope and then go with what you get...

Posted by: mpr1 | August 14, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

From "Back to School: How Not to Be a Helicopter Parent" chat today:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/05/DI2008080502165.html

Annapolis, Md.: What are your recommendations to best prepare the young adult (in advance) for this transition for what is basically their 1st time on their own?

Helen Johnson: I think it's wise to begin giving your young adult increased freedoms and responsibilities all through the high school years in preparation for the challenges of college. In addition to managing their own schedule, doing their laundry, handling a checking account and other practical matters, it's also useful to remove a curfew (if you have one) and talk with your child about the responsibilities and freedoms they'll have in college. It's critical that if the child screws up (while still living at home and enjoying a safety net) that you impose consequences for behavior that is not acceptable. Nearly every college student, on their own for the first time, makes mistakes in judgment. It's useful if they've had some experience beforehand.

Posted by: For Cecilia's little precious | August 14, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I beg you all, donate to the national cord blood bank. It is free (you need to do it 3 months in advance to giving birth) and you WILL NO DOUBT save someone's life. My dad had leukemia and died because there was no match out there. So many people have babies and the life-saving cord blood is just thrown in the garbage. PLEASE take 5 minutes, fill out the papers, and donate!!! Information can be found at: http://www.marrow.org/index.html

Posted by: E Malina | August 14, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"it's also useful to remove a curfew (if you have one) and talk with your child about the responsibilities and freedoms they'll have in college. "

To each his own, but part of living in a family is being considerate of others. I don't want a roommate who stumbles in at 4 a.m. When the teenager moves out of his parents' home and in with his peers, they can determine for their household what constitutes considerate.

Sometimes rules aren't about controlling someone else. They are just about getting along with each other in a small space. Our household's role on this earth is not simply to revolve around the resident teenager.

Posted by: Big sigh | August 14, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

the point in saving cord blood is that in the cord is where the best source of stem cells resides....is it not?


Posted by: teacherdan | August 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

But there could be a virtually endless supply of embryonic stem cells, whereas cord blood is a much more limited source.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Incredibly dull and off point | August 14, 2008 2:59 PM

Well, I suppose I must apologize for condensing the three-page birth story down to one sentence. It's so much more interesting with all the minute-by-minute details and descriptions. Let's see, I know I have that story around somewhere... (No, I'm not really posting it here - for the sake of currently-pregnant readers!)

And for the dull folks who missed the point of that one sentence - it was to provide a contrast with the second birth, that contrast explaining why I really can't remember whether or not younger son's cord blood was collected.

So my point is on-topic for a reader who isn't too dull-witted to follow a chain of events.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

So my point is on-topic for a reader who isn't too dull-witted to follow a chain of events.

But your arrogance is obnoxious to those who are sharp witted enough to notice it.

Three page birth story? Only a story that a mother could love. I am sure if you want to bore others to death, you could regurgitate it on the spot.

Posted by: touche' | August 14, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Only a story that a mother could love.

Well, this IS the On Parenting blog.

Posted by: duhhhh | August 14, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the culture of fear, what's up with that commercial where the lady takes the giant toddler to the park and while she's checking for something in his STROLLER (he looks to be about 7 years old), he wanders away. But old security mom doesn't panic, she just gets out the SONAR or whatever that thing is, and "luckily, she's chosen the right batteries," so that she can immediately electronically locate the child and prevent the lurking possible abduction? What's WITH that commercial? Have you ever actually met anyone who HAD one of those? That commercial just creeps me out -- because they're implying that only bad mothers leave the house with electronic locating devices that aren't working properly. It just strikes me as bizarre. Anyone else?

Posted by: Whats' up with that? | August 14, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: touche' | August 14, 2008 5:45 PM

My sons like to mispronounce that word as "touchy", so when I read it I got a nice chuckle. I think you picked the perfect handle.

Posted by: Sue | August 14, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, "What's Up With That", that commercial is evil! If you don't equip your child with a GPS, you're a bad parent.

It reminds me of another commercial that always pisses me off: a child is playing and scrapes a knee, while multiple moms are watching, hawk-eyed, living for this moment! They are armed and ready for the crisis! With lightning reflexes, smirking, they leap for the lanyard attached to their tote bags, grab the mini-spritzers of antibiotic spray hanging there, swirl the spritzers around their index fingers like a pistol, and spray that boo boo before you can even blink.

It's evil, and brilliant marketing, how the advertiser is saying that you are not a good parent unless you are both buying their unnecessary product AND being a hover parent!

Posted by: Annapolis | August 14, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

How about the commercial where the father & son watch the liquid from a spilled glass rolling across the floor & speculate as to how many paper towels it would take to clean it up, while waiting for mom to come from the other room to clean it up?

Posted by: to Whats' up with that & Annapolis | August 14, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I haven't seen that commercial, the paper towels-teaching-sexism one. Thank goodness, my blood pressure doesn't need it.

Part of me thinks that people who are naive enough to fall for these advertising messages deserve to be bilked of their money.

But then I remember when I was a ignorant young mother, terrified of getting anything wrong and ruining my baby forever! (That's how it felt back then, anyway.)

Posted by: Annapolis | August 14, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

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