“Although the debate over the value of preserving cord blood is not new, many of my expecting mom clients ask me for information on this topic. Here are some basics on cord blood collection that I share with them:
Cord blood (the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby) contains stem cells that can be used to treat various disorders. While the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages public cord blood banking (i.e., donation), they do not recommend private cord blood collection for potential personal or family use as a general “insurance policy.” Indeed, I advise my clients to be wary of cord blood banks that urge banking just in case your baby needs a transplant someday. Medical experts say the chances of a child needing a transplant of his or her own cells are rare.
There are, however, many families for which cord blood banking makes sense. Certain issues, such as family history or genetic disease, factor into the decision. Private companies have sprung up to collect and store umbilical cord blood for future use. If you decide to bank your baby’s blood, make sure the company you choose is accredited by a reputable regulatory agency such as the American Association of Blood Banks. The average upfront fee for storage is approximately $1500 with a $100 yearly storage fee.
Storing your baby’s cord blood is a personal decision that only you can make. Think over your family’s health history and do some homework about cord blood banking during your pregnancy so you can make an informed decision in advance. If you’re still not sure whether to store your baby’s cord blood, discuss your concerns with your doctor and/or your baby’s pediatrician. Whatever you decide to do, your decision should be well thought out and not based on guilt marketing.
For more information on cord blood banking, see the AAP’s Cord Blood Banking FAQ.”
Image credit: Christine Koh