Hyderabad: Women who deliver babies on 11-11-11, or 11 November, 2011, will be refunded the entire initial cost of umbilical cord blood storage by a stem cell bank that’s trying to popularise the service. Babies born any day in November will be gifted a pram worth Rs 6,000, LifeCell International Pvt. Ltd said on Thursday.
Umbilical cord blood is an important source of stem cells, which have the ability to renew themselves and develop into a range of specialized cell types. Stem cell banks store blood and frozen tissue samples for research and surgery.
LifeCell will allow parents to enrol for the offer only until late June or early July, said V. Ravi Shankar, head of corporate communications and marketing at the LifeCell.
The total initial payment under the standard storage plan, which includes collection, processing and preservation of umbilical cord blood for a year, amounts to Rs 36,000. Parents will have to pay a yearly fee later.
“A lot of people plan for their baby to be born on a specific date and 11-11-11 is a very unique date. Even those who are expecting the baby to be born a week around that date can take a chance,” Shankar said on the telephone from Chennai, adding that the offer was aimed at increasing awareness about stem cell banking.
A number of domestic and foreign firms have entered stem cell banking in recent years. LifeCell International, which was the first private cord blood bank in India, has been growing at 50% a year and has around 40, 000 customers, with around 1,200 to 1,400 pregnant women enrolling every month, said Shankar.