Friday, September 26, 2008

StemLife - A Gift of Love, An Insurance of Hope

Collecting and storing stem cells for my baby was introduced to me a couple of months before Ryan is due by a good friend of mine. He strongly advocate the advantages and said that the benefits far outweighs the cost. I wasn't exactly paying much attention to it until 2 days before we knew Ryan would be delivered. My wife was asking me whether we should go ahead. Honestly, I have no idea then what stem cells are and what they could do. Anyway, we got in touch with one of their sales personnel who came to pay us a visit at the hospital the night before Ryan is to be delivered (Talk about last minute decision!) She came at 8pm and share with us what stem cells are and what is possible now with stem cells technology. Being a layman, I don't think I can fully comprehend the entire thing (especially when our minds were more on the arrival of Ryan the following morning).

But in nutshell, stem cells are the body's master cells that create all other tissues, organs and systems in the body and these cells are found aplenty in the cord blood which forms the building blocks for our blood and immune system. They are apparently able to reproduce red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. So basically, if we harvest and store these stem cells for Ryan, these same stem cells can be used in the future should Ryan's body needs these building blocks to regenerate or reproduce new healthy blood cells or tissue to replace those damage. If you ask me, I would prefer that these stem cells would NEVER be needed at all for Ryan. Can stem cells do all that it claims and even more in the future? Why not? Who knows what science and research could do with stem cells 20 to 30 years or even 40 years in the future.

So, amidst the limited understanding that we could gathered during the 30 minutes presentation, we made the calculation of what it would cost us (painful), made the decision, filled up the forms and got the collection kit, all ready for Ryan's arrival the following morning. The basis of our decision is simple. The cost is not exorbitant. We are talking of a one time cost for RM2500 and a yearly storage fee of RM250 (with credit card installment payment). The benefits right now might not be clear but the potential of what it could do for Ryan in years to come (with ever growing and advancing technology) is definitely intriguing. The question that we asked ourselves therefore, was, "What if stem cells could do all that it claims now and more in the future when Ryan really needs them, and we have failed to provide him that opportunity?" So with that, Ryan is now a StemLife baby. For us, it is a Gift of Love and an Insurance of Hope.

For me, there goes my plans to purchase my new XBOX 360 and the portable steering wheel to simulate the speed of a Ferrari F1 tearing down the Sepang circuit or take on Hamilton at Monaco. There is still a need for speed nowadays. It's the speed of how fast I can change the diapers for Ryan before he starts yelling and the speed of preparing his bottle before he brings down the house!

I guess that is what being a parent is all about.

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