Cord Blood banking: The facts

Cord blood banking the facts
The moment you realize you are about to become a mother, or a parent, everything changes. You suddenly become second, and the amazing miracle growing inside you quickly becomes number one. Before you know it you have to make a million different decisions and some are much harder than others. One of those questions that may come is whether or not to bank your baby’s cord blood. This can be a complicated and confusing question, but we are here to help you find an answer. Read on to see the facts and weigh the pros and the cons of cord blood banking.

What exactly is cord blood banking anyway?

A cord blood bank is a place that stores cord blood from the umbilical cord for use in the future. There are two types of storage facilities available, the private ones and the public ones. Cord Blood Banks have been developing since the mid 1990’s, and cord blood is used to help treat different diseases of the blood and immune system. A public bank involves you donating your baby’s cord blood for anyone who may need it. A private bank is where you pay money to store your baby’s cord blood to use for your family.

Private vs. Public

Public cord blood bank: A baby’s cord blood may be donated to a public bank so that another family who may need it for a transplant may use it or it may also be used for medical research. Once you donate cord blood, you will have to sign away any rights to it and the public bank then owns the blood. The public cord blood bank will pay for all of the storage and processing fees, making your donation a free one.

Private cord blood bank: You may pay to store your baby’s cord blood in a private bank so that you can use it in the future for a family member. You will own the blood and make all of the decisions about how it is used.

The entire process involves collecting your baby’s blood that is left in the placenta and storing it for medical use in the future. The blood that is found in the cord can potentially have life saving cells, which are called stem cells. The blood is collected immediately after birth, and is quick and painless.

What Happens?

  1. Whether you have a vaginal birth or caesarean, the cord will be clamped and then cut as usual and can be done be either your partner or a medical professional.You can choose to delay cord clamping, but only if it is brief. It shouldn’t be delayed for more than a minute or two. If you wait too long the blood may clot and may no longer be useful.
  2. Next, they must withdraw the blood from the cord. This process involves inserting a needle into the a part of the vein that is in the umbilical cord and still attached to the placenta. The blood will then drain into a collection bag and usually 1 to 5 ounces with be collected.The entire process takes 5-10 minutes.
  3. Finally, the blood must be shipped (usually within 24 hours of delivery) to a blood bank where it will be tested and processed. The blood will then be cryopreserved which means it is preserved by control freezing. Once it has met the quality of standards it will be held for long term storage. Which diseases can cord blood treat? Up to 70 different diseases have be successfully treated thanks to cord blood including cancer, immune deficiencies, and blood disorders. With these are leukaemia, hodgskins disease, aplastic anemia, thalassemia, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rare metabolic disorders have also been treated by cord blood which could potentially be otherwise fatal for infants.

What are the pros and cons of cord blood banking?

Pros:

  • It will only develop more: Right now, cord blood can potentially save many lives, and it is only going to develop over time and have more uses in the future.
  • It’s easy to do: This procedure if very quick and very painless. There is no pain for mom or baby and it is fairly simple.
  • Quality: You will get higher quality of stem cell resources because once they are frozen they are just as good as the day they were frozen. The umbilical cord holds one of the richest resources for stem cells and is the easiest way to get it.
  • Consonance: Look at it this way: the stem cells that come from the cord blood are far less mature than what would be collected from an adult donor. So this means they would be more compatible, and transporting them would be more successful.
  • There is no downside: If you can afford this, and money is not a problem for you, there really is not a downside to banking the cord blood and having that peace of mind for the future.

Cons:

  • Stem cell therapy will not be able to cure everything: Everyone must understand that if a child has a genetic disease the stem cells with not be much use since they will contain the same genes as the child.
  • It can be expensive: While it is free to donate blood to a public bank, it is going to cost to a pretty penny to store your blood in a private bank. A private bank can run you anywhere from $1400.00-$2500.00, this will include everything you will need for your blood to be stored for 18 years.
  • It may go to waste: Your child may never actaully need to use the blood, but some parents would rather be safe than sorry. According to Frances Verter, the director and founder of Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, there is only a 1 in 217 chance that your child will actually need a stem cell transplant using cord blood. 
  • Many physicians and the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) actually do not suggest private cord blood banking: Unless there is a member of your family who currently has a need for stem cells, or if someone is at a high risk for potentially needing them in the future, the AAP doesn’t suggest doing it.

To bank, or not to bank? This is such a personal choice. Of course we all want to look out for our litte one’s future in the best way that we can. If you do decide to bank any cord blood be sure to do your research and choose a reputable private bank. Also, once you make this decision you will need to let your doctor or midwife know as soon as possible so they are aware and can be prepared to collect the blood.

Looking for Un-Maternity Wear?

If you need to add some maternity clothing to your wardrobe, but don’t want to spend money on pieces you’ll only wear for a short period of time, then head on over to Melody Lane for the best in regular clothing that is versatile enough to wear before, during, and after pregnancy! They offer trendy, classic, and comfortable clothing that is hand-picked for all the life stages women usually experience. With nothing over $100, always free shipping, and new styles featured every season, Melody Lane makes sure your “fashion meets life”.

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Don’t forget to add this to your birth plan if you choose this route. See our article on How to write an effective birth (and baby!) plan to learn more.

This post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician, doctor or health care professional. Please read our terms of use for more information.


Photo Credits: 1 Janin 2,3 Banc de Sang
Sources: www.parents.comwww.drspock.net

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Lauren Hardy

Lauren is a new mom living in Toronto, Canada. When she is not at home being a mom, she is working full time as a model, playing competitive baseball, and working on her personal blog. In her "spare" time, Lauren is aspiring to become a childbirth educator. You can find her at Lauren Hardy Blog

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