Cord Blood Banking

One of the most critical pregnancy decisions - Know your cord blood banking options.
One of the most critical decisions as you approach your delivery concerns your baby’s cord blood. It is the blood that is left over in the umbilical cord and the placenta following the birth of your baby. This blood is a valuable resource of stem cells, which are building blocks of various types of cells such as red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells.

Why should I opt to store my baby’s cord blood?

Your baby’s cord blood contains stem cells that are genetically similar to your baby and your family. If any member of the family develops rare forms of diseases or genetic disorders in future, the stem cells harvested from your baby’s stored cord blood could be used to treat these conditions.

Some of the diseases that stem cells can treat include leukemia or blood cancer and some inherited disorders that are basically caused by mutations in the genes. Research has indicated that the stem cells in your baby’s blood have a 25 percent genetic match between siblings and parents. This means that these stem cells can be potentially used to treat any disease that develops as a result of genetic flaws. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has also recommended cord blood banking. The organization has stated that if you do not want to store your baby’s cord blood, then you can at least donate it, so that it can be used to save someone else’s life.

Where is my baby’s cord blood stored?

It is usually stored in repositories called cord blood banks. These banks can either be public or non-profit banks or private or for-profit ones.

What is the difference between public and private cord blood banking?

If you opt for public cord blood banking, you will be storing your baby’s cord blood for the benefit of general public, which means this blood can be used by any needy person. Alternatively, this blood may also be used by researchers to study the course of any disease or to map out a treatment regimen for the same. Another benefit of choosing this type of banking is that you will not have to pay an annual fee for storing your baby’s blood since this is usually a non-profit venture. On the other hand, private cord blood banking is a for-profit initiative, where you can freeze and store your baby’s cord blood. This will then be exclusively used by your family members or relatives if the need arises in future. This type of banking will cost you anything between $900 and $2,100 depending on the bank in question. Furthermore, you may also have to pay an annual fee in the region of $100 to store your baby’s blood.

How is cord blood collected?

The method of cord blood collection is a simple one. Two procedures are used; one is a syringe method, where the blood is drawn from the umbilical cord in a manner similar to drawing blood for a blood test. Another method is the bag method where the cord blood is collected in a bag from the elevated umbilical cord.

Is there any danger to the mother of the baby during collection?

The procedure to collect is safe and painless. It is usually accomplished within five minutes and is only undertaken after your baby is delivered and the cord is cut. Hence, there is no health risk to the mother or the baby with this procedure.

Return from Cord Blood to Pregnancy Week by Week

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