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What You Should Know About Public Cord Blood Banking

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:34pm

What You Should Know About Public Cord Blood Banking

Everyone is becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of cord blood banking. As research has shown the benefits of stem cells for use in treating a number of different illnesses, expectant parents now have the option to secure a source of stem cells- umbilical cord blood.

Although cord blood banking is becoming more well-known, there are still many things about cord blood banking that are not generally known by the majority of parents. One of the primary confusions can be the difference between public cord blood banking and private or family cord blood banking.

When an expectant mother chooses to donate her baby’s cord blood stem cells to a public cord blood banking, it is similar to donating blood at a community blood drive. It is a good deed that will benefit society and possibly save a life. For the most part, this service does not cost the family anything. The ob/gyn doing the collecting may charge a small fee, which is sometimes covered by insurance. Other than that, the costs of publicly banking umbilical cord blood cells are covered by the public cord blood bank.

What some mothers do not realize is that a donation to a public cord blood bank will not directly benefit your specific child. Just as when you give blood at a blood drive, you are giving up the rights to that blood. Although a public cord blood bank will want to keep in touch with you in case they ever need more information about medical history, your family does not own the cord blood and does not have any say in how the cord blood is used. It may be used for a transplant for any person who is a match, or it may be used for research. An expectant mother who donates her baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank has definitely done something good to benefit society, but the blood will not be hers to use if her child develops a disease that could be cured by a cord blood stem cell transplant.

Currently, there are several things for which the medical field routinely uses umbilical cord blood stem cells as a treatment. These include a number of blood disorders and cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, as well as different forms of anemia. Clinical trials are also currently being done to show the benefits of cord blood in treating things like diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and several other lesser-known disorders and diseases. It is highly likely that cord blood cells will be routinely used to treat these types of diseases in the future. There are also experiments being done to see the possible use of cord blood cells in treating arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s, as well as spinal cord injuries, and damaged organs.

If a mother wants to have her baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells for use by her own family, then she would need to pay for private or family cord blood banking. With most private blood banks, there is an initial collection fee, as well as a per-year storage fee for banking cord blood. Private storage of cord blood cells allows a family to have access to the cord blood cells for use in transplants to the child, siblings, and other family members that may be a match. Only one cord blood bank, Family Cord Blood Services, is now offering a public donation option, for families who would like to have the cord blood saved for them, but would like the option of donating it for public use in the future. With this program, which families can decide to be a part of at the time of cord blood collection, the family will have the choice of donating the stored cells after 10 years of private storage. If the cells are chosen for a public transplant, the family may eligible for reimbursement of some storage fees. For more information on this program, visit

When choosing to store umbilical cord blood, remember that all private cord blood banking services are not the same. While all private cord blood banks do save cord blood for your family’s exclusive use in the future, the methods of collection, transportation, and storage can vary. For example, Family Cord Blood Services offers a unique collection kit with thermal stability to maximize the viability of your baby’s cord blood. This is important because the cells can die if the blood gets too hot or too cold during transportation. The Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood,, provides a comprehensive questionnaire for expectant parents to use when deciding on a private cord blood bank. It is also important to note that the more expensive cord blood banks are not always better than some of the less pricey options. You may have seen commercials on television for some cord blood banking companies. When companies spend a great deal of money on advertising each year, this money has to come from somewhere; often times it is reflected in the cost to the consumer. For this reason, it is important to shop around, making sure that you really are getting the best value

For more helpful information about cord blood banking, see some of the frequently asked questions about cord blood banking

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Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 at 8:37 pm
cord blood
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