Cord Blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after birth. It is special because it is rich in a type of cells called Stem Cells. Stem Cells are special because unlike many other types of cells in our bodies that have a predetermined purpose when they are made, stem cells do not. Stem Cells can be used by the body to make many different types of cells and to stimulate the growth of needed cell populations. For this reason Stem Cell has become a very important area of study in biomedical research. Stem Cells are now used to fight over 70 different diseases from Alzheimer’s Disease to several different cancers in both children and adults.
Cord Blood Banking is the process of collecting and storing Cord Blood and its precious Stem Cells for potential use in the future to treat illnesses or diseases of the child born or any family members. The collection is usually performed just after delivery by the delivering physician or midwife and involves drawing blood from the portion of the cord attached to the placenta once the cord has been clamped and cut. There is no risk or pain to mother or baby.
The decision about whether or not to collect and bank your child’s blood may be based on your family medical history. For example, if you already have another child with a condition potentially treated with Cord Blood, most unbiased medical professionals would advise you to consider Cord Blood Banking. Likewise if you have a personal or family history of a genetic disease potentially treated with Cord Blood it may be advisable to strongly consider Cord Blood Banking.
In the absence of the above circumstances, the decision to Cord Blood Bank is more of a personal. The cost may be weighed against the likelihood of potentially needing the Cord Blood at some point in the future. Private Cord Blood Banks market their services to parents as an ‘insurance policy’ against potential future illness. The initial cost for collection and processing of Cord Blood ranges from approximately $900 to $1800. Additionally there is a yearly or monthly storage fee of approximately $500/year. There are many private cord blood banks to choose from. Some are licensed while others are unlicensed.