Cord Blood Banking – Four Questions You Need to Ask Before Deciding
Many expectant parents are surprised to learn about cord blood banking while at the hospital for delivery of their child. This is a stressful time to make a major decision. Many parents report wishing they knew more about cord blood banking before giving birth. It is important to know the facts, so we have compiled four questions expectant parents should ask before deciding on cord blood banking.
What is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking involves storing umbilical and placenta cord blood for future medical purposes. Until recently, cord blood was discarded as waste. However, research has shown that cord blood is full of stem cells that can save a life. Cord blood is collected after birth and after any delayed cord clamping. You can store it in a public bank for free, or a private, family bank for a fee.
What are Stem Cells?
After the birth of a baby, blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta. The blood that remains contains rich sources of newborn stem cells. These stem cells are different from those obtained from the tissue as they can grow into blood and immune system cells, among other types of cells.
Why is Cord Blood Banking Important?
As previously stated, cord and placenta blood banking can save a life. Some diseases require blood-forming stem cells as a standard treatment. Since this is found in cord or placenta blood, when you donate to a public bank you support others around the world by giving them access to life-preserving stem cells.
Stem cells from cord and placenta blood can be beneficial for over 80 diseases, including cancer, blood, metabolic and immune disorders. More information on what medical conditions can benefit from cord or placenta blood can be found here.
Should I Store Cord Blood in Family or a Public Bank?
If a sibling has a disorder where cord blood transplantation could be beneficial, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends storing cord blood in a family bank. However, family banking comes with a fee. The AAP does not recommend storing cord blood for future personal or family use.
If you do not have a need to store cord blood in a family bank, donating it to a public bank is highly recommended by the AAP. Banking cord blood for public use can bring the life-saving benefits of cord blood stem cells to another. When choosing the public banking option, the cord blood will not be accessible for later personal use.
Understanding the options available is a vital step in making the best decision for your family regarding cord blood banking. If you have questions, we encourage you to contact our office for an appointment with one of our pediatric providers. New parents can schedule a prenatal appointment to discuss this and other questions related to the impending delivery of their first child.