One of the questions that all new mothers are asked during their pregnancy is if they wish to bank their cord blood after the delivery. The cord blood has stem cells within it, which in the ever-evolving field of medicine today allows for improved transplants, immune systems, and injury recovery… but they could also be used to save your child’s life one day. At birth, these stem cells are unique, smart, and extremely flexible and at this very moment are being used to treat over 80 diseases.
It is important to note that cord blood stem cells are NOT embryonic stem cells.
Here Are the Pros of Cord Blood Banking
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.
In addition, cord blood is being used in experimental therapies that can help with traumatic brain injuries, developed hearing loss, and other conditions that may be caused by an inherited disease. Because the future of cord blood research is rather unknown at this point, storing the blood makes sense because in a few years, that cord blood could make an immediate impact on someone’s health within the family.
There is also a greater likelihood of matching within a family than there is if a public cord blood bank needs to be used for some reason. Though familiar cord blood does not guarantee a match with anyone besides the child, by storing the cord blood for each child within the family, the odds are greater that you or your child will have the resources you need when you happen to need them.
Here Are the Cons of Cord Blood Banking
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.
Another primary issue is simply the fact that there is no guarantee that stem cells from cord blood will ever become a viable medical field. Though these stem cells are being used in current therapies, the chances of needing a specific stem cell transplant without a family history of illness or disease is quite low.
Is Cord Blood Banking Right For You?
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!