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Cord blood stem cells are currently used in the treatment of several life-threatening diseases, and play an important role in the treatment of blood and immune system related genetic diseases, cancers, and blood disorders. You have the option of preserving your baby's cord blood upon delivery. Below are some frequently asked questions about cord blood banking as well as a few helpful links.
What is cord blood?
Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is the blood remaining in your child’s umbilical cord following birth. It is a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells that must be collected at the time of birth.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of our blood and immune systems. They are found throughout the body including in bone marrow, cord blood and peripheral blood. They are particularly powerful because they have the ability to treat, repair and/or replace damaged cells in the body.
Why do families choose to collect and store their baby’s cord blood?
Today, cord blood stem cells have been used successfully in the treatment of over 70 diseases.
For most families, banking their baby’s cord blood offers peace of mind that, should there be a need, their family’s stem cells are readily available. Still others save cord blood because of its emerging use in Type I diabetes and cerebral palsy and potential one day to treat heart disease and stroke.
Stem cells from a related source are the preferred option for treatment. Transplants using cord blood from a family member are twice as successful as transplants using cord blood from a non-relative (i.e. a public source).
What options do I have for banking my newborns cord blood?
You can store your baby’s cord blood for your family’s private use with a family bank or cord blood preservation company. Another option is to donate it for public use. When donating your baby’s cord blood, you relinquish all rights to that unit, so the donated cord blood is not reserved for your family. However, the cord blood can be transplanted into any patient whose doctor selects the cord blood unit as the best match for that patient. Donating cord blood for public use or storing it for your family’s private use is a personal decision.
How much does it cost to preserve cord blood with a Family Bank or Cord Blood Preservation Company?
Though each cord blood bank is different, generally, the cost for cord blood stem cell preservation has a one-time charge ranging from $1800 to $2100 and annual storage fee. Some companies offer discounts, have coupons, cord blood gift registry, or offer extended payment plans.
The option of preserving your newborns cord blood is entirely up to you. For more information, see the following websites for Cord Blood banking options: