Cord blood banks advertise heavily on television and in magazines read by pregnant women. The ads can leave mothers feeling guilty if they choose not to bank the cord blood or like they are tempting fate by not doing it. Is it worth the investment?
Cord blood banks advertise heavily on television and in magazines read by pregnant women. The ads can leave mothers feeling guilty if they choose not to bank the cord blood or like they are tempting fate by not doing it. At the very least you may be wondering if it is worth the investment.
It is a significant investment for many families, especially in the current economic climate. Cord blood banks charge two different fees for their services. One is a collection fee which covers collection, enrollment in the program and the first year’s storage fee for the cord blood. This fee can be over a thousand dollars. The second fee is an annual storage fee, which usually is around $100.
Cord blood contains stem cells from your baby. Stem cells are cells that will become cells in all areas and organs of the body. Before the cell specializes for its exact function in the body, it is a stem cell. These cells have the amazing ability of transforming into any type of cell in the human body.
Stem cells have been in the news in recent years. There are scientists who have been spending their life’s work on learning to use stem cells to treat a variety of diseases including leukemia, autoimmune disorders, certain cancers, immunological disorders and certain inherited disorders.
The theory behind stem cell banking is the blood would be a perfect match for the baby and a potential match for other siblings and parents. Therefore it is seen as an insurance policy for the entire family. Since we never know what is coming in the future, banking the cord blood seems like a good insurance policy for the health of your family.
So is it worth the money? Only you can decide if this is an investment you want to make. The likelihood of your baby needing it or having one of the exact diseases currently treated with cord blood is very small. However, advancements are made all the time and this could easily change in the future. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, only between 5,000 and 6,000 cord blood transplants have been done around the world. Source: http://scienceweek.com/2005/sb050114-4.htm
When you sign up with a cord blood banking service, they will send you a collection kit. You take this kit to the hospital when you go to have your baby. The doctor will collect the cord blood after the delivery and notify the company of the collection. The blood bank will send a courier to the hospital to pick up the blood and take it to the storage facility to be processed.
If you decide against banking your baby’s cord blood, you may want to look into donating it. Donating cord blood works like any blood donation. The cord blood is collected and stored. It is then used for any person for whom it is a close enough genetic match. You can find local blood banks which accept donations of cord blood by searching the internet or ask your health care provider. This website has information on blood banks in many areas. http://www.marrow.org/
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