Banking Your Amniotic Fluid? Don't Make Me Laugh

pregnantThere's something every good blogger has learned. Just when life looks grim, you can always depend on a public relations pitch to make you laugh. Usually it's the butchering of the English language.

This week it was the offer to bank my amniotic fluid. Picture it: you spend the last few weeks of your pregnancy never knowing when you'll go into labor and when all that precious fluid will come gushing out of your vag. What's a freaked out preggo to do? Wrap a garbage bag around her nether regions and hope for the best?


Crinkle, crinkle. What was that sir? You wanted to talk to my boss? Crinkle, crinkle. I'm sorry, it's hard to hear you over the noise of the plastic bag around my giant pregnant butt. Crinkle, crinkle. I considered putting myself in a bubble, but I'm saving that for the baby. Can't let him around any germy wermies. Crinkle, crinkle.

Really, thank you for that laugh. Oh, wait, they were serious.

Amniotic fluid is filled with stem cells! And the folks at banking center Biocell tell prospective clients "the medical community worldwide is already testing stem cells for tissue regeneration and transplantation, and even more important medical breakthroughs are foreseen in the future." They're the "future of medicine," Biocell promises.

Catch that word "testing"? Or "future"? As in, they're working on it, but there's no actual evidence just yet that they're going to save a life with it? Sound anything like, oh, I dunno, a big sell for something completely unproven? Especially when you consider this: apparently they aren't too worried about getting all that valuable goo come delivery day; they're happy to just grab a vial during an amniocentesis. That's a test, by the way, that carries a risk of miscarriage of around 1 in 200.

And of course Biocell wants to charge you just $2,800 for a 19-year contract on the off chance that a) your child will need the stem cells and b) scientists will figure out how to make them useful. And we can always throw in c) if your baby survives an elective amniocentesis.

You know what? I'm not laughing anymore. Now I'm just flabbergasted. Cord blood banking, a more proven science, is getting an increasing amount of flack from the experts -- who say it's a giant waste of money for parents. Now along comes new, seemingly untested science, and parents are again being faced with false promises that prey on the insecurity of pregnancy: the unknown. It's gone from laughable to disturbingly real lickety split.

Would you bank your amniotic fluid?


Image via sapiensolutions/Flickr

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