Considering a Cord Blood Bank? Read This First


cross section of umbilical cord
Flickr photo by euthman

If you're pregnant, chances are you'll soon be getting a glossy brochure from your doctor's office or in the mail from a company offering to privately bank your child's umbilical cord blood once the baby is born. It will offer lots of statistics and, in touchy-feely language, explain that cord blood, which contains stem cells, might be the one thing that saves your child's life should he or she develop a dreadful life-threatening disease.

And chances are, you'll buy it hook, line, and sinker because, well, a few measly thousand dollars versus a child's life? That's just a no-brainer.

Put the brochure down and read this special report on private umbilical cord banking from ABC News first.

I didn't bank my children's cord blood because I always had a feeling these companies were promising more than they could really deliver. It felt more like good marketing than sound insurance. Here's why I was right ...

Cord blood, a rich source of stem cells, can be used as a treatment for diseases, such as leukemia and sickle cell disease, and as a potential source of cells for regenerative medicine -- a cutting-edge field of medicine studying how to repair tissues damaged by everything from heart disease to cerebral palsy, according to ABC News.

Is there a chance that private cord blood could save your child's life should he or she -- or even a sibling -- get leukemia? Of course. That's definitely something to consider. However, a recent investigation found that a child's own cord blood can't cure or treat a majority of the 70 or 80 diseases these companies often tout in trying to get parents to sign up, which often costs several thousands of dollars plus a hundred or so a year thereafter for storage.

One woman interviewed by ABC who banked her son's cord blood through a private firm learned her little boy had a genetic condition called osteopenia, a rare disease where the body makes excess bone that can lead to blindness and be fatal if untreated.

Osteopenia was included on the list of diseases cord blood was purported to treat. When the woman told the diagnosing doctor that all would be fine, she banked her son's cord blood at birth, the doctor looked at her and said, "Sorry, but we can't use it." The baby's cord blood stem cells carry the same disease, thus his own cord blood was useless to treat it.

Luckily, the boy's doctors found a match in a public bank, which the report explains is often a better option for parents because of the variety of blood and the fact that it's free.

The bottom line is, it's nice to think that evolving technologies will make cord blood a valuable insurance policy some time in the future, but right now that's just not the reality. So read up and weigh the risks before you send in that check.

Watch the video and read the full report here.

Are you planning to bank your baby's cord blood through a private bank? Why do you think it's a good idea?

in the news, pregnancy health


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nonmember avatar Liza Tremblay

I find it frustrating that you did not even mention the idea of donating one's baby's cord blood to the public bank.  Where do you think all those stem cells come from?  I have a family friend who was saved from non-Hodgkins lymphoma at age 16 because of a cord blood donation.  Please, if you can afford it, donate your baby's cord blood to the public bank!  This is not a scam. 

nonmember avatar niks

I am donating my son's cord blood to the public bank. It is absolutely free, all I have to do is tell them when I get to the hospital and they take care of the rest, now that is a no brainer.  The only downside is that not enough hospitals (in nyc) in my opinion,  participate in the public banking. Luckily mine does but many do not.

cordb... cordbloodmom1

Ok, to all the parents out there who are reading this blog post, I want you to take a minute and hear my daughters story...My little girl Chloe arrived into this world a beautiful and seeming healthy baby. The first nine months of her life were awesome. Around her nine month mark, we began to notice that she was not meeting those ever important milestones such as holding her bottle. Her little right hand was always in a very tight fist and she could not put any weight on her right arm. When it was time for her to crawl she would sit on her bottom, drag her rt leg behind her and bounce across the floor. At her 1yr check up the doc ordered a CT scan, it was then that we learned she had suffered a stroke before birth. She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and was almost totally paralyzed on her rt side. The prediction for her one knew if she would walk, talk, ride a was all left to chance. Thanks to a decision that we made to bank her cord blood at birth and Cord blood registry, we learned of a study being done with children's OWN cord blood. They were attempting to reverse the effects of this life altering condition. I am so happy to tell you all, that 2 yrs later my little girl is no longer paralyzed, rides a bike, is mainstreamed in school, skis, runs, jumps and is living a totally normal life.

cordb... cordbloodmom1

continuing.....Now as for this ABC story, please take a min to think about it. First of all, the producers of ABC had my daughters story, one of success, they chose not to tell the world any positive side to cord blood banking.  I invite you all to visit the link that I have provided, to educate yourself with the correct  information about cord blood banking. then please visit see where my daughter began and where she is today. As far as donating your cord blood, yes I to believe that this is important but there are some things you should think about first. A) 9 times out of 10 when you donate your sample it will be thrown out for a number of reasons B) Once you donate any and all ties to you are gone, so if they do keep it the chances of getting it back are next to none and C) what they fail to tell you is yes it is free to donate, but should you need to pull a sample out of a public bank to treat a medical condition, it will cost you any where from 20 to 30 thousand dollars to do so, not to mention the medical cost to use the cord blood.

My point is before you go and believe a poorly written, poorly researched story on a news station. Do your homework and find the facts out for yourself.  


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