Parents have several options when it comes to the best cord blood bank to donate their baby’s cord blood. Where some parents choose to donate their baby’s cord blood to national bank to help others fighting diseases such as lymphoma, other may choose to bank their baby’s blood for private use. Banking your baby’s cord blood is done for two reasons: to have the blood available should a blood disease present itself in the future and/or to help a family member, typically a sibling, currently battling a blood disease.
Saving the blood from your baby’s umbilical cord is a for-profit business. Unlike donations to a good or best cord blood bank, you’ll need to pay for this service. The Cord Blood Registry charges $1,995 for this service at the time of your baby’s birth and a $130 annual storage fee, due after your baby turns one. They also offer cord tissue banking for families interested in having stem cells stored; the price for both is $2,895 with an annual fee of $260 for storage. This is a large expense for many families, so each family must weigh the pros against the cons.
The factor that drives most parents to store their baby’s cord blood is the insurance against future illness. Banking cord blood can be a great idea if a history of certain blood diseases such as lymphoma runs in the family. Since this blood is particularly rich in the cells which create blood cells, an infusion later in life could actually save your child’s life.
Storing cord blood can be the best cord blood bank for your family as well, as it can also help relatives who have developed or may develop blood diseases. Familial matches are preferred over stranger matches for blood donations. If your family has a history of blood diseases, especially leukemia or sickle cell anemia, than your baby’s cord blood could save their lives. However, it is important to note that only 3 to 5 ounces can be extracted from the cord; this small amount means that it can more effectively treat children than adults.
The collection of cord blood is painless. After cutting the umbilical cord, a needle extracts blood from the cut cord; a needle never touches your baby.
Although the price for storing cord blood may vary slightly from company to company, the overall cost is often prohibitive for families. Currently, over twenty private cord blood banks offer services in the United States. While donating cord blood is free, storing it for potential private use can be expensive.
No clear research exists as to the likelihood your baby will need his or her cord blood in the future. Estimates range from 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 200,000. Since the diseases treatable with cord blood are rare, the chance that your baby will need its blood in the future is rare as well.
Cord blood cannot be stored indefinitely. Although the blood cells can last up to ten years when properly stored, after this time period they begin to degrade. Although they may last several years, they may not. So if your child develops a blood condition in his or her teen years, even the best cord blood bank holding your child’s blood is not likely to be of any help.
Parenting is all about choices. Some choices such as what to make for lunch are far easier than deciding whether or not to bank your baby’s cord blood. Ultimately, your family will need to weigh the pros and cons against each other to make a decision. Although no one disputes the ability of cord blood to save lives, the likelihood that you’ll need it is small. In the end, your family must do what is right for it.