Is It Worth It to Bank Cord Blood?
Labor and delivery is full of important choices and decisions. One of the important decisions is whether or not you should bank your baby’s cord blood. This type of blood contains stem cells that are vital in helping combat certain serious diseases.
What Is Cord Blood?
This is the baby’s blood that is found in the placenta and umbilical cord after you’ve given birth. The reason cord blood is so important is that it contains specialized cells called hematopoietic stem cells. These cells are important because they can grow into different types of cells in the body, and because of that they are used to treat certain diseases.
Using these stem cells from cord blood has several advantages. They can be given to more people than those from bone marrow, and they are less likely to cause rejection. Cord blood is easier to collect than bone marrow, plus cord blood can be frozen and stored.
These cells can combat 70 different types of diseases, particularly leukemia and lymphoma. They’re also useful in treating immune system problems as well as genetic and neurologic disorders.
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
It’s important to realize that there are two types of cord blood banks: public and private. We’ll outline the differences between the two.
Public banks store cord blood that is used for allogeneic transplants, or a situation when someone else’s stem cells are instrumental in treating a child’s disease. The donor does not have to be related to the child. Information is put in a cord blood registry.
Public banks do not charge for storage, and the blood is available to be used by anyone who qualifies.
Private banks only store cord blood for use as a directed donation for a family member, and they charge for storage
Should You Bank Cord Blood? Is it Worth It?
Whether or not to bank cord blood is an individual decision, and no one choice is right for everyone.
We can discuss your options with you and point you in the direction of information that can help you make an informed decision.
However, there are a few things that you should consider:
- If you or a relative has a disease that is commonly treated through stem cells, then a private cord banking facility may be a good option.
- Most children do not develop conditions that can be treated by using their own stem cells. This is a highly unlikely scenario. For this reason, it’s not recommended to consider cord blood banking as a type of “safeguard” against future illnesses.
- If you donate to a public bank, you will have the opportunity to help someone who may need treatment through the cord bank registry. This is especially important if you are a member of a minority group because these groups are often underrepresented in cord blood banks.
- If you decide to use a private bank, be sure you understand the prices and fees. Typically, storage fees are charged annually.
- Cord blood donated from a biological sibling can help another child of yours who may have a medical problem or disease that could be helped with a cord blood transplant.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages the use of public cord blood banks, citing that they can save children from fatal diseases.
The Carolina Cord Blood Bank
We use the Carolina Cord Blood Bank at Rex for public cord blood banking. This service is available at Rex and the representatives from the cord blood bank will come and speak with you when you are admitted to the hospital in labor, so no advance planning is necessary.
Associates in Women’s Health: Providing Information for Educated Decisions
Is it worth it to bank cord blood? The answer depends upon many different factors. Perhaps you’d like to help someone else out by placing the blood in the public storage banks. Maybe there’s a sibling who needs the cord blood to assist in treatment of a serious disease.
These are all facets that you should consider.
We’re dedicated to providing the facts and statistics you need to make the choice that is right for your family. If you do decide to bank cord blood, please mention that to us when we’re creating your birth plan.
We would consider it a privilege to be your healthcare home. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.