Monday, February 27, 2012

To bank cord blood or not to bank cord blood... that is the question!

That is what my wife and I are trying to decide. Actually, we've mostly made up our mind, mostly because my mother-in-law is a big supporter of it and helped my sister-in-law finance it and is going to help us too. In an effort to be unbiased and offer a service for the readers of baby in my baby, for this post I will pretend we don't have the influence of financial assistance. As with all of my posts I'll let you make up your own mind. First, let's talk about why people bank cord blood.

Cord blood is rich in young stem cells that is obtained by capturing the blood in the umbilical cord when it is clamped and cut at birth. Cord blood stem cells are being currently used to effectively treat some forms of cancer, blood and immune genetic diseases, and some blood disorders. While it has become much more common, critics of cord blood collection still argue that it may be more valuable for the baby to get as much of the cord blood as possible at birth instead of saving it. On the other hand, supporters claim that some of these valuable cells will be wasted without the banking.

When banking cord blood, you'll typically receive a cord blood collection kit with everything the hospital needs to collect it, and then it's your responsibility to ship it via overnight courier to the cryogenic facility to be put in frozen storage. The company we went with is CBR, and here's a video showing the cord blood kit contents we received so you know what to expect:

CBR Cord Blood Kit Contents

The bottom line is, the jury in the medical community is still out and it should be a personal decision for new parents. Private cord blood banking is a relatively new practice that has to be a personal decision for parents. Costs can range from $800-$2,000 or more for the initial cord blood banking, and then several hundreds of dollars per year to store in a cryogenic facility.

Cord blood banking is a significant ongoing expense which is sold by private banks as a life insurance policy that is a smart decision. Many times they say that if siblings or other family members are a match, they also could potentially use the blood if they develop a disorder that could be treated with the blood.

Another argument in support of storing cord blood is that science will most surely continue advancing and some of the uses for this blood may not be in practice today yet. This is another idea that is communicated by companies trying to convince you to save this precious blood.

In the end, as with most decisions as new parents, you have to make the call. My wife are going with CBR (Cord Blood Registry), and we just received our kit which we need to bring to the hospital, but I still have my reservations. We most surely would not have done it if we needed to come up with the entire cost ourselves. However, with all that considered we do think it's a wise choice for the scientific future potential uses for the blood as a good investment. Perhaps if either of us or a sibling is a match, if any of us gets cancer, (which runs in our family) then perhaps we could benefit.

Worst case scenario would be if this money and the blood were never used and wasted, however, there are worse things to spend your money on. Also, if we get older and think it will not be used we could donate it or turn it over to our children and it could potentially be past on to the next generation as long as the blood could still be viable.

Hope this blog helps and whether you bank cord blood or not, thanks for reading!

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