Cord Blood: Should You Bank Your Newborn’s Cord Blood?
Blood that remains in the placenta and in the umbilical cord that is still attached to the placenta after childbirth is referred to as Umbilical cord blood. It contains stem cells that researchers believe will be useful in treating many diseases.
Kept under the right conditions, stem cells can be stored indefinitely. However, cord blood must be collected, processed and banked within minutes of birth. If you want to preserve your baby’s cord blood, arrangements should be made well in advance so that your doctor and delivery room staff will be prepared.
If either of a baby’s birth parents have a family history of diabetes, lupus, neurological or degenerative diseases, (and/or other autoimmune diseases) etc., it is probably worth the expense of collecting and storing your baby’s cord blood just in case your baby is genetically predisposed to developing one or more of these diseases.
Some people are choosing to have their newborn baby’s cord blood collected and stored in case it may be beneficial in treating genetic disorders or diseases such as leukemia or lymphoma their baby may develop later.
The stem cells in the umbilical cord blood are believed to have great potential for curing some heart related diseases, repairing some damage that results from heart attack, curing more than 60 different blood diseases, and some infectious lung diseases.
Recently NBC News has reported that scientists at UCLA are saying they have discovered a way to turn stem cells into cells that fight HIV, and that the genetically engineered cells have been successful in suppressing the virus in animals.
According to Wikipedia: “Researchers are noting several positive observations in pre-clinical animal studies. Thus far, in animal models of myocardial infarction [heart attack], cord blood stem cells have shown the ability to selectively migrate to injured cardiac tissue, improve vascular function and blood flow at the site of injury, and improve overall heart function.”
Many Doctors Recommend Donating Your Baby’s Cord Blood To A Public Cord Blood Bank
More is now known about cord blood and its possibilities. Most pediatricians and other doctors recommend donating a baby’s cord blood to public cord blood banks because the cord blood usually contains the same genetic makeup that caused a baby’s genetic disease in the first place, so a physician would not use a baby’s own cord blood to treat their condition.
Banking a baby’s cord blood in a private cord blood bank might be useful if the baby has a sibling or parent who might benefit from the cord blood. In that case it might be worth the expense of paying for collection and storage of the cord blood in a private cord blood bank, which according to Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, currently runs between $1500 and $2000 for the first year.
If the cord blood is donated to a public cord blood bank, there is no cost to parents for collection or storage. Should a family member need a transplant in the future, it is highly likely that a public cord blood bank would have a matching donor, because they already have so many people who have donated to the public cord blood bank.
More Answers To Your Questions About Donating Your Baby's Cord Blood
No Guarantees From Public or Private Cord Blood Banks
However, there is no guarantee that there will be a matching donor for your child in the event that his or her donation of cord blood was given to someone else, nor is there any guarantee that your child will have priority over the cord blood s/he donates. There will likely be a charge for the cord blood in the event it is ever needed.
These are all considerations to think about if a parent is trying to decide whether or not to collect and store their baby’s cord blood, or donate their baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank.
Also, it is important to determine as best possible, the chance that a private cord blood bank may go out of business. If that should happen, you could lose any benefit you may have had by storing your baby’s cord blood.
There are so many questions you should have and will have that you will want to be thinking about your different options well before the birth of your baby. For answers, I recommend Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.
WebMD on the pros and cons of banking cordblood
Mayo Clinic on Saving Cord Blood
Parent’s Guide on Banking Cordblood