Cord Blood Banking
Everything you need to know about cord blood banking including the benefits, process, storage and fees. Also find suggestions about donating your baby's stem cells should you choose not to store them. Find out if cord blood banking is right for you.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth, which is usually discarded. Cord blood banking uses external facilities as a place to store and preserve your baby's cord blood.
Why should I store my baby's blood in a cord blood bank?
The cord blood of your baby serves as an abundant source for stem cells, which are genetically distinctive to your baby and your family. These stem cells function as dominant cells because they contribute to the development of all tissues, organs, and systems in the body.
Stem cells possess the ability to transform into other types of cells in the body and create new growth and development; they are the building block of the immune system. This transformation of cells provides physicians with a way to treat common problems such as heart disease, cancers, and stroke. (More diseases and conditions treated by stem cells.) Cord blood stem cells have the same ability to treat the same diseases as bone marrow however there is significantly less rejection.
Banking your baby's blood and stem cells provides you with a type of insurance. Hopefully, you will not need to access your baby's stem cells to address a medical problem, but using a cord blood bank provides you with peace of mind that this valuable medical and biological resource is there if you need it. The stem cells from your baby's cord blood may also be available to address certain diseases or conditions of a parent or sibling.
How is cord blood collected?
The cord blood collection process is simple, safe, and painless. It is usually completed in less than five minutes by your healthcare provider. Cord blood collection does not interfere with delivery and is possible with vaginal or cesarean deliveries. Your healthcare provider will use one of two options for cord blood collection: syringe method or bag method.
- Syringe method: a syringe is used to draw blood from the umbilical cord shortly after the umbilical cord has been cut. The process is basically the same as drawing blood for a blood test.
- Bag method: the umbilical cord is elevated to allow gravity to cause the blood to drain into a bag.
The syringe or bag should be pre-labeled with a unique number that represents your baby. Cord blood may only be collected during the first 15 minutes following delivery, and should be processed by the laboratory within 48 hours.
What happens to the cord blood once it has been collected?
Your baby's cord blood will be processed and stored in a laboratory facility often referred to as a blood bank. The cord blood should be processed and stored in a facility that has been accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for handling hematopoietic stem cells.
What are the health risks to the mother or to the baby?
There are no health risks related to cord blood collection. Cord blood is retrieved from the umbilical cord after it has been cut preventing any possible pain, discomfort, or harm. Cord blood collection is safe.
How much does cord blood banking cost?
There are usually two fees associated with cord blood banking. The first is the initial fee which includes enrollment, collection and storage for at least the first year, and the second is an annual storage fee. Some facilities offer a variety of options for the initial fee with predetermined extended periods of storage.
The initial fee will range from $900 to $2100 depending on the predetermined extended periods. Annual storage fees beyond the initial storage fee are approximately $100.
It is quite common for storage facilities to offer prepaid plans at a discount and payment plans to make the initial storage easier on you and the family.
What if I do not want to store the cord blood?
Your baby's cord blood is a valuable resource whether you elect to store it privately in a cord blood bank or not. Whether it is through foundations, non-profit blood banks, or medical institutions, there are numerous locations that would collect, process, and use the stem cells from your baby's cord blood to help other people. There are no costs to you, and it is just like donating blood.
If you do not choose to store your baby's blood as a safety net for your family, seriously consider other cord blood options. You can donate the cord blood to make a difference in someone else's life.
Where can I learn more about cord blood banking and arrange for cord blood banking services?
The Association is here to keep you informed on cord blood banking education, as well as accredited Cord Blood Banks like Corcell.
CorCell is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks. They offer information on cord blood banking as well as provide private cord blood banking services.