Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You want me to do WHAT?

Sometimes, while on Facebook, I come across rather strange ads for products and services which I suppose are target to someone of my age, gender, and interests (over 40? need to lose weight? like to write? into progressive politics?), but this one takes the cake.

C'elle.

Yes, it sounds French. But it's not. What is it, you may ask? Well...
The innovative C'elle service provides women with the exclusive opportunity to build their own personal healthcare and wellness investment portfolio comprised of precious menstrual stem cells that are highly prolific and have demonstrated capability to differentiate into many other types of stem cells such as cardiac, neural, bone, fat and cartilage. Today, you now have the ability to preserve your very own priceless portfolio of stem cells that may serve as the basis for many different customized regenerative therapies that may emerge over time to treat yourself or possibly even a member of your own family for a potential host of life-affecting diseases. (from the C'elle website)
Yes, you, too, can collect stem cells from your menstrual blood. Yes, you heard me. Stem cells from your menstrual blood.

Apparently, similar to umbilical cord blood collection, now women are being targeted as the source of potentially life-saving cells through their monthly periods. Emphasis on potentially.

None of this life-saving work is really happening yet. It might work sometime in the future. But for right now, for only $499 (plus $99 storage fee per year), you can receive a "discreet collection kit" so you can FedEx your menstrual blood to the C'elle people in Florida where they will store your cells until such time as they become useful.

Oddly, I was hard-pressed to find too much critical comment about this on the internet. Only the BBC seems to have concerns.

But as I read through the site, I have concerns. The site, in it's own FAQs, states that there are no therapies using these cells right now, and that no one knows when and if these therapies will become available. Also, when you submit your sample, it will be tested for HIV and for Hepatitis B, so women are unwittingly being tested for these diseases by the C'elle company. Finally, the cells have been shown to last for 15 years when cryogenically stored. This research might take longer than that, and then what? You've wasted close to $2000.

So... how do I feel about C'elle?

Just remember their tagline: Every month holds a miracle.

You betcha.

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