First, a little history. The first transplant took place in 1988 with a 5-year-old in Paris who was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. Post-treatment, the patient exhibits no signs of the disease and is now healthy over 25 years later.
There are two ways to store cord blood: You can donate the blood to a public storage bank, or you can pay for private storage. Both storage types have pros and cons, and the best option for you and your family depends on different factors. Your health care provider can help you weigh the options and make the right choice. This guide can help you create a cord blood registry and gives you a list of the best cord blood banks to choose from.
Hematopoietic stem cells can be used to treat more than 70 types of diseases, including diseases of the immune system, genetic disorders, neurologic disorders, and some forms of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma. For some of these diseases, stem cells are the primary treatment. For others, treatment with stem cells may be used when other treatments have not worked or in experimental research programs.
Depending on the predetermined period of storage, the initial fee can range from $900 to $2100. Annual storage fees after the initial storage fee are approximately $100. It is common for storage facilities to offer prepaid plans at a discount and payment plans to help make the initial storage a more attractive option for you and your family.
nbiased and factual information. The Foundation educates parents, health professionals and the general public about the need to preserve this valuable medical resource while providing information on both public cord blood donation programs and private family cord blood banks worldwide. Learn more about our global community.
Keep in mind that it’s still very unlikely your child will ever tap into her own saved cord blood later in life (the odds are 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 20,000 by some estimates). In fact, a baby’s own cord blood cells may be unsuitable to treat any condition that appears down the road because the mutations responsible for that disorder are typically present at birth. What’s more, the chances that you’ll be able to use your baby’s donated cord blood to treat an adult family member are also low. That’s because most stored units of cord blood don’t contain enough stem cells to treat anyone weighing more than 90 pounds. Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank does widen the scope of those in need who could benefit.
There are usually two fees involved in cord blood banking. The first is the initial fee that covers enrollment, collection, and storage for at least the first year. The second is an annual storage fee. Some facilities vary the initial fee based upon the length of a predetermined period of storage.
Families expecting a new baby face hundreds of decisions that will affect their child’s future—like finding the perfect name, figuring how to manage breast or bottle feeding, childcare, and a host of other parenting decisions.
There are around 30 private banks in the U.S. too. If you decide to opt for private storage, you should choose a cord blood bank that’s registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). AABB accreditation is the gold standard in cord blood banking, ensuring that your baby’s cord blood is collected, stored, processed and distributed safely and effectively.
Frances Verter, PhD, founded the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood in 1998 and has been a Scientific Advisor to Community Blood Services since 2007. In 2011 the NMDP presented her with their Lifeline Award in recognition of her efforts to improve public education about cord blood donation.
Because the body’s immune system is designed to find and get rid of what it believes to be outside contaminants, stem cells and other cells of the immune system cannot be transfused into just anyone. For stem cell transfusions of any type, the body’s immune system can mistakenly start attacking the patient’s own body. This is known as graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and is a big problem post-transplant. GvHD can be isolated and minimal, but it can also be acute, chronic and even deadly.
Cord blood is rich in special hematopoietic stem cells that aren’t found in blood from other parts of the body. Most cells are only able to make copies of themselves. (For instance, eye cells can only make copies of cells found in the eyes.) But these cord blood stem cells are different. Because they haven’t fully matured, they’re able to develop into different types of blood and immune-system cells.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends families choose to donate their cord blood to public banks in most cases. Private banking should be considered for family use where there is a full sibling in the family with a condition that could potentially benefit from a transplant as siblings have a 25% chance of being a match.
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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.
The blood collected from the cord is, in fact, the same blood your baby receives from the placenta. The blood itself is not ‘from the cord’ but collected from that area. This blood is rich in stem cells, which can grow into blood vessels, organs, and tissues.
If you want the blood stored, after the birth, the doctor clamps the umbilical cord in two places, about 10 inches apart, and cuts the cord, separating mother from baby. Then she inserts a needle and collects at least 40 milliliters of blood from the cord. The blood is sealed in a bag and sent to a lab or cord blood bank for testing and storage. The process only takes a few minutes and is painless for mother and baby.
Cord blood banking means preserving the newborn stem cells found in the blood of the umbilical cord and the placenta. After a baby is born, and even after delayed cord clamping, there is blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta that holds valuable newborn stem cells. Parents have a choice between donating cord blood to a public bank for free, or paying to store it for their family in a private bank. Cord blood banking includes the whole process from collection through storage of newborn stem cells for future medical purposes.
Cord blood is currently approved by the FDA for the treatment for nearly 80 diseases, and cord blood treatments have been performed more than 35,000 times around the globe to treat cancers (including lymphoma and leukemia), anemias, inherited metabolic disorders and some solid tumors and orthopedic repair. Researchers are also exploring how cord blood has the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier and differentiate into neurons and other brain cells, which may be instrumental in treating conditions that have been untreatable up to this point. The most exciting of these are autism, cerebral palsy and Alzheimer’s.
The decision to bank your child’s cord blood is a personal one. Some parents believe the potential benefits are too few to justify the cost, or lose the advantages of delayed cord clamping; others believe it’s a worthwhile investment.
If you can afford the costs of cord blood banking, then it makes sense to have it done to protect against the “what ifs” of life. If you cannot, you can still potentially help someone in need by making a donation to a public cord blood bank, which is often free and may just have a small collection fee from the hospital. The world of medicine is changing, which is why cord blood banking is so important. Talk to your doctor today to see if it is something you should be doing!
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).
If you wish to keep the umbilicial cord intact after birth, so your baby receives the benefits of delayed cord clamping, cord blood collection might not be an option for you. This will depend on the hospital and its collection policy. Staff can wait until the cord has finished pulsating, cut the cord, and then drain the placenta of the remaining blood.
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.
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.”
The next step at either a public or family bank is to process the cord blood to separate the blood component holding stem cells. The final product has a volume of 25 milliliters and includes a cryoprotectant which prevents the cells from bursting when frozen. Typical cost, $250 to $300 per unit.
For many families, the primary reason why they choose not to store their cord blood is the overall cost of doing so. You only get one chance to store the cord blood and the cost of collection, storage, and shipping for the first year alone is often the same price as delivering the baby at the hospital. It is not uncommon for costs to be around $2,000 for the initial collection, than there is often a storage fee of over $100 per year that must also be paid.
Your baby’s cord blood could be a valuable resource for another family. From foundations to non-profit blood banks and medical facilities, there are numerous locations that will collect, process, and use the stem cells from your baby’s cord blood to treat other people.