cord blood banking is it worth it | what is the difference between banking cord blood and cord tissue

Sometimes cord blood units do not meet criteria for use in transplanting. Typically, this occurs if the amount of cord blood collected is too small or the unit contains too few cells. In this case, it may be used for research purposes that have been approved by the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank and meet required ethical standards.
Bone marrow and similar sources often requires an invasive, surgical procedure and one’s own stem cells may already have become diseased, which means the patient will have to find matching stem cells from another family member or unrelated donor. This will increase the risk of GvHD. In addition, finding an unrelated matched donor can be difficult, and once a match is ascertained, it may take valuable weeks, even months, to retrieve. Learn more about why cord blood is preferred to the next best source, bone marrow.
“It’s critically important for patients to get balanced information and answers to their questions about cord blood banking,” says Dr. Aghajanian. “Because there are so many companies advertising their services, it can be somewhat difficult to understand information on the internet. We recommend that patients discuss this issue with their physicians.”
Taking time to consider helping another person when you are already busy planning for the birth of your child is greatly appreciated. A gift of cord blood may someday give someone a second chance at life.
Why should you consider donating the cord blood to a public bank? Simply because, besides bringing a new life into the world, you could be saving an individual whose best chance at life is a stem cell transplant with your baby’s donated cord blood. This can only happen if you donate and if your baby is a close enough match for a patient in need. If you chose to reserve the cord blood for your family, then siblings who have the same parents have a 25% chance of being an exact match.
If you’re unsure about what you’d like to do, then speak with your doctor about your family’s medical history. Ask if there is a risk to your child that could be minimized with cord blood banking. In doing so, you’ll be able to find the decision which works the best for you.
Your baby’s umbilical cord blood has the power to heal life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, and sickle cell anemia. The stem cells in the baby’s blood are immature cells that can reproduce themselves as well as provide the potential to turn into other types of cells, thereby eliminating the disease itself.
Students who register to donate blood three or more times during their high school career earn a Red Cord to wear during graduation events. Seniors must complete the requirement by May 15 (or by the date of their school’s final blood drive of the year, whichever is later).  
With public cord blood banks, there’s a greater chance that your cord blood will be put to use because it could be given to any child or adult in need, says William T. Shearer, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Pediatrics and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Cord blood is donated and is put on a national registry, to be made available for any transplant patient. So if your child should need the cord blood later in life, there’s no guarantee you would be able to get it back.
Meet Dylan. Diagnosed with leukemia at just 8 weeks old, he received a life-saving cord blood transplant at 6 months old. Today, Dylan is growing up strong, going to school, travelling with his family and just having fun being a kid!
It varies. Cord blood banking can be free, or it can cost a few thousand dollars or more. How much you pay will depend on several different factors, like whether your insurance covers the collection process, whether your doctor or midwife charges a collection fee, whether you opt for a public storage bank (which is free) or private storage bank (which can cost a couple thousand dollars or more), or whether there is an existing family medical need (in which case some private banks offer free or discounted storage).
You and your baby’s personal information are always kept private by the public cord blood bank. The cord blood unit is given a number at the hospital, and this is how it is listed on the registry and at the public cord blood bank.
For example, your child could develop a genetic medical condition for which the blood stored would no longer be useful. In these types of cases, families who paid to store cord blood were at a major disadvantage. Once their child developed an immune deficiency disease, they had to pay out of pocket for donated cord blood on top of the fees they paid storing the cord blood they can’t even use.
There are no health risks related to cord blood collection. Cord blood is retrieved from the umbilical cord after it has been cut, thus preventing any pain, discomfort, or harm. This process is completely safe.
There are some hospitals that have dedicated collections staff who can process mothers at the last minute when they arrive to deliver the baby. However, in the United States that is the exception to the rule.
Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) is the world’s largest newborn stem cell company. Founded in 1992, CBR is entrusted by parents with storing samples from more than 600,000 children. CBR is dedicated to advancing the clinical application of cord blood and cord tissue stem cells by partnering with institutions to establish FDA-regulated clinical trials for conditions that have no cure today.
The use of cord blood is determined by the treating physician and is influenced by many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the characteristics of the sample, and whether the cord blood should come from the patient or an appropriately matched donor. Cord blood has established uses in transplant medicine; however, its use in regenerative medicine is still being researched. There is no guarantee that treatments being studied in the laboratory, clinical trials, or other experimental treatments will be available in the future.
Tissue typed and listed on the registry of the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, also called the Be The Match Registry®. (The registry is a listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units. When a patient needs a transplant, the registry is searched to find a matching marrow donor or cord blood unit.)





Cord blood use is one of the most exciting areas of research in medical science today. Researchers are studying treatments for cerebral palsy by using the cord blood obtained at birth. Autism treatments using cord blood are underway as well, along with other potentially fatal disorders and diseases. The potential of what cord blood could provide for future medical needs has a lot of upside and not much downside.
As cord blood is inter-related to cord blood banking, it is often a catch-all term used for the various cells that are stored. It may be surprising for some parents to learn that stored cord blood contains little of what people think of as “blood,” as the red blood cells (RBCs) can actually be detrimental to a cord blood treatment. (As we’ll discuss later, one of the chief goals of cord blood processing is to greatly reduce the volume of red blood cells in any cord blood collection.)
The majority of programs that accept cord blood donations require the mother to sign up in advance. In the united States, the current requirement is to sign up by the 34th week of pregnancy. This cannot be over-stressed; time and time again, mothers who want to donate are turned away because they did not inquire about donation until it was too late.
When a child develops a condition that can be treated with stem cells, they undergo transplant. A doctor infuses stem cells from cord blood or bone marrow into the patient’s bloodstream, where they will turn into cells that fight the disease and repair damaged cells—essentially, they replace and rejuvenate the existing immune system.
Cord blood can’t be used to treat everything. If your child is born with a genetic condition such as muscular dystrophy or spina bifida, then the stem cells would have that condition, says Dr. Kurtzberg. But if the cord blood donor is healthy and there is a sibling or another immediate family member who has a genetic condition, the cord blood could be a good match for them.
Cord tissue use is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue will be available in the future. Cord tissue is stored whole. Additional processing prior to use will be required to extract and prepare any of the multiple cell types from cryopreserved cord tissue. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s activities for New York State residents are limited to collection of umbilical cord tissue and long-term storage of umbilical cord–derived stem cells. Cbr Systems, Inc.’s possession of a New York State license for such collection and long-term storage does not indicate approval or endorsement of possible future uses or future suitability of these cells.
It depends on who you ask. Although commercial cord blood banks often bill their services as “biological insurance” against future diseases, the blood doesn’t often get used. One study says the chance that a child will use their cord blood over their lifetime is between 1 in 400 and 1 in 200,000.
The materials and information included in this electronic newsletter (Newsletter), including advertisements, are provided as a service to you and do not reflect endorsement by the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation (the “Foundation”). The Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy and completeness of information provided by guest authors, outside sources, or on websites linked to the Newsletter. The Foundation reserves the right at any time to remove materials and information from the Newsletter without communication with the author or organization. Access to and use of all Newsletter information is at the user’s own risk. The Foundation is not liable for any damages of any kind, nature or description (whether direct, consequential or punitive) arising out of or relating to information referenced in the Newsletter, or related in any way to the user’s access to the Newsletter. The Foundation’s Terms of Use is expressly incorporated herein. Questions can be directed to info@parentsguidecordblood.org.
A third option, sometimes not known about, is available for cord blood banking as well. A direct donation bank is a combination of private and public banks. These banks will store blood for public use, but accept donations that can be reserved for families or specific individuals. Some do not charge a fee for this service, while others may offer a reduced fee compared to banks that are completely private.
Cord blood contains mesenchymal stem cells but is much more abundant in hematopoietic stem cells. Cord tissue, on the other hand, contains some hematopoietic stem cells but is much richer in mesenchymal stem cells. Cord tissue, or Wharton’s jelly, is the protective layer that covers the umbilical cord’s vein and other vessels. Its MSCs can become a host of cells including those found in the nervous system, sensory organs, circulatory tissues, skin, bone, cartilage, and more. MSCs are currently undergoing clinical trials for sports injuries, heart and kidney disease, ALS, wound healing and autoimmune disease. As with cord blood, cord tissue is easily collected at the type of birth and holds great potential in regenerative medicine. Learn more about cord tissue banking here.
“One of the biggest concerns families have about publicly banking cord blood is: Will it be available to them, if needed? The answer is a little complicated,” Dr. Aghajanian says. “Cord blood donated to a public bank can be pulled for a family of origin.” As long as it is still available, of course.
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If your newborn’s brother or sister has a condition treatable by cord blood there is an option for you to urgently store the cord blood free of cost. Public banks such as Texas Cord Blood Bank covers transplants for siblings only.
The primary disadvantage of cord blood banking is that it isn’t a cheap procedure and many families may not be able to afford it. The initial cost of saving your cord blood for personal use can be upwards of $2,500. There are annual storage fees, sometimes as high as $200, that must be paid as well. It is free, however, to donate blood to a public cord blood bank.
Sign a consent form to donate. This consent form says that the donated cord blood may be used by any patient needing a transplant. If the cord blood cannot be used for transplantation, it may be used in research studies or thrown away. These studies help future patients have a more successful transplant.
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The potential of cord blood banking is enormous, but so are the costs of private banking. The pros and cons of cord blood banking suggest that public banking can be a beneficial choice for many families. Other choices are available as well, including a delay in the cutting of the umbilical cord, so each family must decide which option will be right for them.
Dennis Michael Todd, PhD, joined Community Blood Services as its President and CEO in 2000. Community Blood Services operates the NJ Cord Blood Bank and The HLA Registry bone marrow donor center, both of which are affiliated with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). In 2012, the blood center expects to distribute over 85,000 units of red cells and 20,000 platelets to hospitals and medical centers throughout northern NJ and Orange County, NY. Dr. Todd is presently a member of the NMDP Executive Committee and Chairman of the Finance Committee. He is a member of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the AABB, the American Association of Bioanalysts, and the New Jersey Society of Blood Bank Professionals.
Private cord blood banking companies provide you and your family the assurance that your child’s cord blood will be contained safely and securely until needed. Private cord banking is provided by an accredited family company that contains your child’s blood as long as you are able to pay the fees. There are currently 25+ AABB certified private banks available.
Cord blood is a source of adult stem cells similar to those contained in bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells are collected after the birth of a healthy infant, and pose no risk to the donating mother or baby. Therefore, there are no ethical issues or controversy connected with the use of these cells. This differs from controversial embryonic stem cells that require the destruction of an embryo in order to be used for research.
Private or family banks store cord blood for autologous use or directed donation for a family member. Private banks charge a yearly fee for storage. Blood stored in a private bank must meet the same standards as blood stored in a public bank. If you have a family member with a disorder that may potentially be treated with stem cells, some private banks will store the cord blood free of charge.

6 Replies to “cord blood banking is it worth it | what is the difference between banking cord blood and cord tissue”

  1. Both AAP and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have discouraged private storage as “biological insurance” in most other cases. For some blood cancers and other blood diseases, such as leukemia, a person’s own blood could most likely not be used for treatment—their stem cells would have the same mutation that caused the disease.
    Cord blood is a source of adult stem cells similar to those contained in bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells are collected after the birth of a healthy infant, and pose no risk to the donating mother or baby. Therefore, there are no ethical issues or controversy connected with the use of these cells. This differs from controversial embryonic stem cells that require the destruction of an embryo in order to be used for research.
    Your own cord blood will always be accessible. This applies only if you pay to store your cord blood at a private bank. The blood is reserved for your own family; nobody else can access or use it, and it will never be allotted to another family or be donated to research. If you donate your cord blood to a public bank, on the other hand, anyone who needs compatible cord blood can have it; there’s no guarantee that it will be available if and when your family needs it.
    Are public banks and family banks the same, except for who may use the cord blood and the cost to the parents? No. Public banks are subject to much higher regulatory requirements, and compliance with regulations carries costs. At a family bank you pay the bank enough to cover the cost of storing your baby’s cord blood, plus they make a profit. When you donate to a public bank, it costs you nothing, but the bank pays more on processing each blood collection than at a family bank. Let’s look at the steps that take place in the laboratory.
    There are several resources available for collection that benefit transplant patients, including bone marrow. Umbilical cord blood is the easiest to collect because it is a painless procedure that must be completed anyway to disconnect a newborn from the mother. Cord blood is also easier to match with others, even compared to blood that is recovered from the placenta, which makes it a highly effective treatment option.
    Cord blood is always accessible – if you pay to have it stored in a private blood bank. The cord blood is reserved for your baby and your own family; it can’t be accessed or used by anyone else. As long as you keep paying for the storage, the cord blood is available indefinitely.
    When you consider that public banks can only expect to ship 1-2% of their inventory for transplant, you can quickly understand why most public banks are struggling to make ends meet. That struggle means that fewer collection programs are staffed, and there are fewer opportunities for parents to donate to the public good. We said earlier that public banks only keep cord blood donations over a minimum of 900 million cells, but today most public banks have raised that threshold to 1.5 billion cells. The reason is that the largest units are the ones most likely to be used for transplants that bring income to the bank. Family cord blood banks do not need to impose volume thresholds because they have a profit margin on every unit banked.
    Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. This blood is usually discarded. However, cord blood banking utilizes facilities to store and preserve a baby’s cord blood. If you are considering storing your baby’s cord blood, make sure to use a cord blood bank accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), like Viacord.
    You certainly should, especially if you have a family history of any diseases or conditions that could be treated with cord blood stem cells. Since there is only a 25% chance of a match, you should bank the cord blood of each individual child if you have the means.

  2. Often, these diseases can also be treated with stem cells from bone marrow. But cord blood stem cells are easier to collect, can be stored for longer, and can be given to more people. They can also help boost a patient’s immune system during cancer treatment — something bone marrow stem cells can’t do.
    The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or in place of therapy or medical care. Use of this site is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy. © 2018 What to Expect
    ## Payment Plan Disclosures for in-house CBR 12-Month Plan (interest free) – No credit check required. The 12-month plan requires a $15/month administrative fee. The plans may be prepaid in full at any time.
    At Cryo-Cell, we strive to give all parents the chance to store their babies’ umbilical cord blood for the future health of their families. We offer special discounts and offers for multiple births, returning customers, referrals, military families, medical professionals, long-term, pre-paid storage plans and more. In addition, we have in-house financing options that start for as little as a few dollars a day to keep cord blood banking in everyone’s reach. See how much cord blood banking costs at Cryo-Cell here.
    We offer standard and premium cord blood processing options. Our standard service has been used in thousands of successful transplants since 1988 and begins at $1600. For $350 more, our premium service uses a superior new processing method that greatly enhances parents’ return on investment. (Please visit our processing technology page to learn about our cord blood processing methods.) For an additional $950, you can also store your baby’s cord tissue, which has the potential to help heal the body in different ways than cord blood.
    One of the primary reasons why parents are choosing to bank cord blood is because of a history of family illness. Everything from metabolic disorders to immune system problems to common childhood cancers are all being treated with cord blood stem cells, making them an invaluable resource for your family.
    As with any medical procedure, there is never a 100% guarantee that banked cord blood, even if it comes from the patient being treated, will provide a successful outcome. Families can go through the entire cost of banking cord blood, including the massive first-year fee, only to find that the treatment didn’t work as intended. It is not an investment. It is more of an insurance policy.
    Cord blood contains all the same components as normal blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. What makes it special is that it’s also rich in hematopoietic stem cells — special blood-forming stem cells that are similar to those found in bone marrow. These cells can be used to treat many types of diseases.
    If you pay a private bank to store your cord blood, then it will always be available to you. No one can access the cord blood unless you authorize it. It will be reserved for your family and no one else. It cannot be donated for research purposes if your account remains in good standing. There may not be a guarantee that you’ll ever use it, but at least you’ll have it should there be a need to use it in the future.

  3. The mother signs an informed consent which gives a “public” cord blood bank permission to collect the cord blood after birth and to list it on a database that can be searched by doctors on behalf of patients.  The cord blood is listed purely by its genetic type, with no information about the identity of the donor. In the United States, Be The Match maintains a national network of public cord blood banks and registered cord blood donations. However, all the donation registries around the world cooperate with each other, so that a patient who one day benefits from your child’s cord blood may come from anywhere. It is truly a gift to the benefit of humankind.
    Families must pay the annual storage fees to maintain their cord blood at a private bank. If those fees are not paid, then the cord blood will simply be disposed of or donated to a public bank. That is why public cord blood banks can be a better option, especially for households with lower income levels, because there is a greater chance that the stored blood will be able to successfully treat someone in the future.
    When parents donate cord blood to a public bank, they are supporting patients around the world who are searching for an unrelated Allogeneic donor. When parents save cord blood in a family bank, they are reserving the options that the baby can use its own stem cells for an Autologous treatment, or an immediate relative (sibling or parents) can use the stem cells for an Allogeneic treatment.

  4. If you are considering donating your child’s cord blood, or if you have questions or concerns, call the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank at 314-268-2787 or 888-453-2673 to register. A nurse is available to answer your questions between the hours of 7 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. See more about the donation process here »
    Cord blood donation doesn’t cost anything for parents. Public cord blood banks pay for everything which includes the collection, testing, and storing of umbilical cord blood. This means that cord blood donation is not possible in every hospital.
    Remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta is approx. 40–120 milliliters of cord blood. The healthcare provider will extract the cord blood from the umbilical cord at no risk or harm to the baby or mother.
    There are so many things to think about when you have a child. One of them is the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord (which connects the baby to the mother while in the womb). It used to be thrown away at birth, but now, many parents store the blood for the future health of their child. Should you do it?
    The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) has also adopted a position on the ethical aspects of umbilical cord blood banking. The EGE is of the opinion that “support for public cord blood banks for allogeneic transplantations should be increased and long term functioning should be assured.” They further stated that “the legitimacy of commercial cord blood banks for autologous use should be questioned as they sell a service which has presently no real use regarding therapeutic options.”
    Parents who wish to donate cord blood are limited by whether there is a public bank that collects donations from the hospital or clinic where their baby will be born. Search our list of public banks in your country. Parents who wish to store cord blood and/or cord tissue for their family can find and compare private banks in your country. Family banks usually offer payment plans or insurance policies to lower the cost of cord blood banking.
    “It’s critically important for patients to get balanced information and answers to their questions about cord blood banking,” says Dr. Aghajanian. “Because there are so many companies advertising their services, it can be somewhat difficult to understand information on the internet. We recommend that patients discuss this issue with their physicians.”
    The potential of cord blood banking is enormous, but so are the costs of private banking. The pros and cons of cord blood banking suggest that public banking can be a beneficial choice for many families. Other choices are available as well, including a delay in the cutting of the umbilical cord, so each family must decide which option will be right for them.
    This is a huge risk and must be definitely thought out before making the decision. Leaving the umbilical cord on for 1 minute is proven to increase hemoglobin levels and improves iron levels in the first several months of life. This aids tremendously in the transition for your little one to breathe.

  5. Chloe Savannah Metz’ mother donated her baby girl’s cord blood to the NCBP in December 2000. “Many thanks to the New York Blood Center for giving us the opportunity to donate our cord — we hope to give someone a second chance!” – Christine Metz
    The parents who make the decision to store their baby’s cord blood and cord tissue are thinking ahead, wanting to do right from the start (even before the start), and taking steps to do whatever they can to protect their baby down the road. Today, many conscientious parents are also considering delayed cord clamping (DCC), a practice in which the umbilical cord is not clamped immediately but rather after it continues to pulse for an average of 30 seconds to 180 seconds. Many parents don’t realize that they can delay the clamping of the cord and still bank their baby’s cord blood. As noted early, our premium processing method, PrepaCyte-CB, is able to capture more immune system cells and reduce the greatest number of red blood cell contaminants. This makes it go hand in hand with delayed cord clamping because it is not as affected by volume, effectively making up for the smaller quantity with a superior quality. You can read more about delayed cord clamping vs. cord blood banking here.
    Compare costs and services for saving umbilical cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue stem cells. Americord’s® highest quality cord blood banking, friendly customer service, and affordable pricing have made us a leader in the industry.
    Sam McCulloch enjoyed talking so much about birth she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she writes . She is mother to three beautiful little humans.
    We are genetically closest to our siblings. That’s because we inherit half of our DNA from our mother and half from our father, so the genes we inherit are based on a chance combination of our parents’. Our siblings are the only other people inheriting the same DNA.
    Bone marrow and similar sources often requires an invasive, surgical procedure and one’s own stem cells may already have become diseased, which means the patient will have to find matching stem cells from another family member or unrelated donor. This will increase the risk of GvHD. In addition, finding an unrelated matched donor can be difficult, and once a match is ascertained, it may take valuable weeks, even months, to retrieve. Learn more about why cord blood is preferred to the next best source, bone marrow.

  6. The benefits for low risk families with no known history or immune or blood disorders are not clear. Unless you have a family member with a medical condition that might be helped by a stem-cell transplant, associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advise against cord blood storage in private bank facilities, because of the cost.
    However, parents should know that a child’s own cord blood (stored at birth), would rarely be suitable for a transplant today. It could not be used at present to treat genetic diseases, for example, because the cord blood stem cells carry the same affected genes and. if transplanted, would confer the same condition to the recipient. (See the story of Anthony Dones.) In addition, most transplant physicians would not use a child’s own cord blood to treat leukemia. There are two reasons why the child’s own cord blood is not safe as a transplant source. First, in most cases of childhood leukemia, cells carrying the leukemic mutation are already present at birth and can be demonstrated in the cord blood. Thus, pre-leukemic cells may be given back with the transplant, since there is no effective way to remove them (purge) today. Second, in a child with leukemia, the immune system has already failed to prevent leukemia. Since cord blood from the same child re-establishes the child’s own immune system, doctors fear it would have a poor anti-leukemia effect.
    Blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is put into a sterile bag. (The blood is put into the bag either before or after the placenta is delivered, depending upon the procedure of the cord blood bank.)
    It depends on who you ask. Although commercial cord blood banks often bill their services as “biological insurance” against future diseases, the blood doesn’t often get used. One study says the chance that a child will use their cord blood over their lifetime is between 1 in 400 and 1 in 200,000.
    Umbilical cord blood can save lives. Cord blood is rich in stem cells that can morph into all sorts of blood cells, which can be used to treat diseases that harm the blood and immune system, such as leukemia and certain cancers, sickle-cell anemia, and some metabolic disorders. There are a few ways for transplant patients to get blood cells (umbilical and placenta, bone marrow, peripheral/circulation), but cord blood is easier to match with patients, and because it is gathered during birth from the umbilical cord, it’s a painless procedure.
    The first cord blood banks were private cord blood banks. In fact, Cryo-Cell is the world’s first private cord blood bank. It wasn’t until later that the government realized the need to preserve cord blood for research and public welfare. As a result, 31 states have adopted a law or have a piece of pending legislation that requires or encourages OBGYNs to educate expectant parents about cord blood banking and many states now have publicly held cord blood banks. As a result, parents have the option of banking their baby’s cord blood privately for the exclusive use of the child and the rest of the family or donating the cord blood to a public bank so that it can be used in research or by any patient who is a match and in need.

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