Labor & Delivery: Cord Blood -- Should I Bank My Baby's at Birth?

cord bloodI know the subject of cord blood banking came up when both of my kids were born. And moms around here are talking about it. ashliebrooke said she decided to store her baby's stem cells, and she asked other moms in Answers what they thought of the investment. Parents were split, though all agreed it was expensive.

The subject of private bank vs. public came up, too. Here's some basic info on what cord blood banking is and what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about it.


Cord Blood Banking

This info is distilled from a detailed WebMD article on banking cord blood.

What is it?

Cord blood stem cells can be taken from the umbilical cord at birth and have the ability to produce all of the blood cells in the body. They can be used to treat blood-related diseases or people whose bone marrow has been damaged by chemotherapy or other treatments.

Private banks can store your child's cord blood for a fee, ensuring that it's there for you if you need it; public banks accept stem cell donations (just like a blood bank), and they can be used by anyone who needs them.

Should I bank my baby's cord blood?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents donate their baby's cord blood to a public bank so that it may be used now by other children who need it. Ask your healthcare provider if it's possible to donate to a public bank at the hospital where you'll deliver. The AAP recommends private banking for parents who have an older child with a condition that might be helped by a stem cell transplant.

The AAP discourages private banking for later use. They note that the odds that your child will one day need his own stem cells are low (they're estimated to range from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 200,000), and even if your child does develop a blood condition, cord blood may not be the best treatment option.

If I do bank my baby's blood with a private bank, what would it cost?

There's usually an initial fee and an annual storage fee; prices vary, but could be between $1,000 - $2,000 and then around $100 a year for storage.

+++ What do you think? Would you want to bank your baby's cord blood? Would you donate it to a public bank?

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