What Is Cord Blood Banking?
New parents have plenty of decisions to make, and each one can shape your baby’s future and health. And cord blood banking is one of these important choices that parents will want to consider before their new child arrives.
Cord blood banking could hold the key to keeping your baby healthy in the future – and it could save your baby’s life. If you’re about to become a parent, here are the facts you need to know about cord blood banking.
Cord Blood Banking Is Easy, Harmless, and Painless
Cord blood is quite simple: it’s the extra blood that lives in a baby’s umbilical cord and placenta. After the umbilical cord is cut at birth, cord blood stays in that cord. While babies no longer need this blood, as What to Expect explains, it’s still important – that cord blood has cells that could be important to your child’s future health.
Inside cord blood is everything that’s in “regular” blood. It contains red and white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. However, this unique blood is also rich in stem cells, which are special cells that can be used in the future to cure diseases and medical conditions.
If you choose to save your child’s cord blood for the future, you don’t need to worry about the collection and storage process. Cord blood banking takes no time at all, and it’s painless for both mother and child.
As New England Cord Blood Bank explains, the umbilical cord is clamped right after the baby is delivered. This stops the blood flow to the baby, and the umbilical cord can then be cut. Once the cord is cut, a needle is inserted into the leftover cord and the blood is collected. Neither mom or baby will feel a thing, and the blood can be collected for storage with ease.
Cord Blood Can Treat Over 80 Life Threatening Diseases
The stem cells present in cord blood are the top reason many parents choose to collect and bank it. Umbilical cord blood can be incredibly beneficial in the years long after a child’s birth – and that’s because cord blood can treat a vast variety of life-threatening diseases, illnesses, and conditions.
According to Save the Cord Foundation, cord blood is currently able to treat more than 80 diseases from cancer to immune deficiencies to genetic disorders. Here are just a few of the diseases Save the Cord Foundation says are being treated with cord blood and stem cells:
- Multiple Myeloma
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia
- Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)
As scientific research finds even more uses and treatments for stem cells, the list of ailments that can be cured or treated will only grow – and cord blood banking will be the perfect way to ensure your child has options for his or her health for years and years to come.
While cord blood is most commonly used to treat the child whose umbilical cord the blood came from, cord blood can also be used to treat close family members like parents and siblings. If your child is healthy, but you or another close family member is in need of stem cells for medical treatment, you’ll be able to use the cord blood that’s banked for many different conditions and treatments.
Cord Blood Banking Can Be Free
Once you’ve decided that you want to bank your baby’s cord blood, you have one more choice to make: where you’ll store that cord blood. There are a number of different types of cord blood banks, including both public and private storage options, and each one freezes the cord blood so it’s safely stored until your child needs it.
Of course, each cord blood banking option does come with a different cost. The cost of cord blood banking varies greatly – it can cost a few thousands dollars for the initial storage fee, a few hundred dollars each year, or an affordable monthly fee. But the most important cost to know is that cord blood banking can be entirely free.
According to What to Expect, the cost of cord blood banking depends on the following factors:
- Your insurance coverage
- Your doctor’s collection process and fees
- The type of storage bank you choose
- If a current family member needs the cord blood
Cord blood banking could be 100 percent free if your insurance covers the cost of the collection and storage, or if you choose a public storage bank (which is often free of charge). To see how little you could pay for cord blood banking, make sure to check with your insurance and search for different storage options.
Cord Blood Can Only Be Collected During Birth
There’s one critical fact all soon-to-be parents must know about cord blood banking: cord blood can only be collected immediately after delivery.
It’s important to know this so you can make an informed decision before your baby arrives. If you’re considering cord blood banking, you won’t have a chance after delivery to collect the blood and its important cells – so you’ll need to be prepared before heading to the hospital.
As Parents Magazine writes, if you’re considering cord blood banking you’ll need to research different banks, choose a storage location, and notify them ahead of your due date. You’ll also want to consider reaching out to organizations like Be the Match, which can cover the cost of collecting, processing, and storing cord blood for you.
Once you’ve decided whether you’ll be banking cord blood or not, there’s more research to do. Before your baby makes his or her entrance into the world, it’s important to consider every option and to do your homework, finding which bank and which options are the best for your growing family.