Cord Blood Banking - Should you do it?~ by Michelle O'Connor
Cord blood banking is simple - after the umbilical cord is cut, the blood is drained out of the placenta. This blood is rich in baby's "stem cells," which are immature blood cells that are able to change and mature into any type of blood cell as baby grows, just like bone marrow cells. These cells are preserved in a storage facility, ready for use when needed.
Stem cells can be used in transplants to cure leukemia and other diseases and may someday treat ailments from diabetes to Alzheimer's. But the advertisements for the growing industry of private cord blood banks fail to say that doctors hardly ever transplant a child's own blood because it can contain the disease.
So how do you make a decision about cord blood banking? The first barrier that you will likely come upon as you look into the procedure is the price. The price at ViaCord begins at $1500 for collection of the cord blood and then $95/year for storage. The Cord Blood Registry has similar pricing, with a $1290 enrolment and processing fee and then $95/year storage fee, although for both companies you can save some money (around $500) if you prepay for storage.
Public banks accept donations to be used for anyone in need. Once the blood is donated, it loses all identifying information after a short period of initial testing, so that families will not be able to retrieve their blood later. Whether a mother decides to donate cord blood or store it for private use, the initial collection process is the same and poses no danger to mother or baby.
If you're a donor to a public bank, if the time should come that you need stem cells, yours may still be available, or you may use donations from other people without charge. Anyone who has not been a donor to a public bank must pay for the use of stem cells, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars. Right now, situations in which stem cells would be helpful are quite rare.
Parents who choose to bank their newborn's cord blood generally have another child in need of a stem cell transplant, or have a genetic risk of certain cancers that can be treated with stem cells.
Edited by: Adam O'Connor Discount Maternity Clothing
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