Last Sunday's Times Life carried a good article on why you should store umbilical cord blood if you can afford it. This is a great Way of creating awareness. Very little people in urban India are aware that this is possible in India through an organisation called LifeCell. The Seniol and I were aware of this last year itself through their ads that appear regularly in Femina. But I repent now for not taking timely action and storing the cord blood with LifeCell for Lil General. In the last few months of pregnancy, every one is worried about how it will go and working out the logistics that this was totally missed. What could have been a better life long gift for the baby? So if you can afford it, please plan it and do so. You'd rather not do the same mistake that we did. Here is the article that appeared in the Times :

Move over Nintendos and Playstations… the latest gift the rich and famous are giving their little ones is a cord blood bank account. Indrani Rajkhowa Banerjee
on a facility which involves storing baby cells from the umbilical cord

WHAT IF at 18 you were to suddenly discover that you have diabetes or some equally dreadful health condition? Your world comes crashing down. But your mom doesn't seem too perturbed or worked up. She simply rings up the family doctor and tells you that the blood stored from your umbilical cord for the past 18 years will nix all your medical woes. Unbelievable?
Well, it's happening in India, a trend that is surely making its presence felt, specially amongst the affluent ones.
The latest gift celebs and upwardly mobile parents are giving their little bundles of joy is signing on for facilities that store their umbilical cord blood. Though this service comes for a hefty price tag, which may be considered steep for most Indians, parents who have gone for it say it's similar to taking out a life insurance policy for the child.
Second-time pregnant Priya Dutt, MP and daughter of the late actor-politician, Sunil Dutt, swears by the decision she took for her first born. So do actors Madhavan and Raveena Tandon and cricketers Ajit Agarkar and Nayan Mongia. For the uninitiated, cord-blood banking involves harvesting stem cells from the placenta and umbilical cord, normally discarded after the baby is born. The baby cells from the umbilical cord are stored to be used at a later date to treat diseases, including cancer, Parkinson's, diabetes and so on.
Call it a legacy that parents and grandparents are leaving behind for a privileged few, but certain incidents that Dr V R Chandramouli, CEO of Life Cell, a pioneer in this field in India, narrates, will make you choose this facility over the Rs 75,000 Fisher Price layette for your yet-to-be born. Here's a case study:
It was a moment of joy when Julie and Jonathan Henderson found out that Julie was pregnant with their second child. But their joy was short-lived as around the same time they discovered that their twoyear-old son Nicolas had Tcell lymphoma. After Nicolas' chemotherapy failed to work, the Hendersons’ doctor tried a relatively new transplant procedure using stem cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of their just born baby, Nathaniel. Today, Nicolas is a happy, energetic fouryear-old, who is in remission. He and his baby brother Nathaniel share a special bond.
"Cord blood is more like a biological future health insurance for the newborn baby and its future offspring and siblings. And with 21 million births a year, stem cells from cord blood, which is discarded everyday in all maternity hospitals as a bio-medial waste, can be a precious source giving renewed hope to many," says Chandramouli.
"What's Rs 75,000, if it ensures cure for deadly diseases that might harm my child in the future?" asks Madhavan. "We never shy away from buying the most expensive toys or clothes for our babies. In fact, do we bang our heads before we do all the investments for their life, education or marriage? No, we don't. Then why not something for their health?"
Proud mama Raveena couldn't agree more. She's at peace that she took the decision for her daughter Rashaa. Priya, who has decided to book an umbilical cord blood account for her unborn second baby, feels "It's the greatest gift you could give to your child."
The process for storing and preserving the cord blood is hassle-free. "From our first contact to the sample collection, the process was efficient, prompt and professional," says Ajit. In the case of Madhavan, his family, other than his wife, didn't even get to know about it. "It was a painless process where they take a little bit of blood and it's over." Other than having deep pockets, you'll also have to be intelligent and brave enough to shake the age-old taboo (if some long-lost aunt declares it ominous for the baby) and assert just the way Raveena does: "I've g i f t e d Ra s h a a something extremely precious — health and happiness for life."