Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Paying to Store Menstrual Blood Stem Cells


What will they think of next? A company called C'elle, will--for a hefty fee, up to $1500 plus annual storage fee--collect and store women's menstrual blood ("your monthly miracle") and extract stem cells contained therein in case of future need. The company touts its service as providing "women with the exclusive opportunity to build their very own stem cell investment portfolio." Well, let's let the company's on-line pitch, complete with photos of bare beautiful women, tell the story:

C'elle's exclusive and revolutionary service provides women with the unique opportunity to collect and preserve vital stem cells that can be harvested from the body's menstrual fluid during the menstrual cycle. Until now, menstrual blood has typically been discarded as unsanitary waste. However, exciting new research shows that menstrual fluid contains, self-renewing stem cells that can be easily collected, processed and cryo-preserved for potential cellular therapies that may emerge in the future.

During the process of cryo-preservation, menstrual stem cells are literally "frozen in time," which enables these abundant stem cells to retain their potency and viability for an indefinite period of time--possibly even decades. Patented technology allows cryo-preserved menstrual blood stem cells to be retrieved and thawed over time. Stem cells from menstrual blood may potentially be utilized in the future to treat a host of life-threatening and debilitating medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and spinal cord injury, just to name a few. Cryo-preservation of menstrual stem cells may have the potential in providing women with a broad range of personalized regenerative medicine as well as prospective cosmeceutical stem cell therapies. These beneficial therapeutic treatments may emerge as a result of global research and development in the future. However, realistically, it may take several years for these menstrual stem cells to be developed into potential widely-available commercial therapies.

Since these would presumably be blood stem cells, I'm not sure why they would need to be stored and frozen. And why would menstrual stem cells be any better than other adult stem cells that could be obtained later in time of need? But I do know a very imaginative pitch when I see one. The only question is: Is this a potential panacea, a hoax, or a waste of money? I say the latter.


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