Planning to insure your unborn child’s health? Opting for a promising new technology of cord blood banking is well worth all the initial expense incurred. Here are a few insights to help you choose the right cord blood bank.
There is a saying that the gift of life is the best gift of all. But how does it feel to know that medical science now gives you a chance to give this gift of life many more times to your whole family? If you are still wondering, we are talking about cord blood banking. Stem cells were previously harvested only through bone marrow or circulating blood transplant. However, these methods did not offer a 100% chance of stem cell acceptance. Cord blood however, offers a higher chance of stem cell acceptance, thereby increasing chances of recovery and survival of recipients. It is proving to be a boon for medical science.
How do Cord Blood Banks Work?
The process is very simple and straight forward. Parents of the unborn child need to register themselves with cord blood banks with a one time fee of $1000 to $2000. This fee is waived off if parents decide to make a cord blood donation to public donation banks. Ideally, a representative of your cord blood bank remains present at the time of your baby’s birth. He collects cord blood (minimum volume is 60 cc) from the umbilical cord and placenta of your newborn child. The cord blood bank staff processes the collected cord blood, freezes it in liquid nitrogen and monitors the freezers. Cord blood thus saved, is ideal for usage up to a span of 21 years from its collection and can be used to cure approximately 75 known and unforeseen diseases.
Choosing the Perfect Cord Blood Banking Option
The two prominent options available for cord blood banking are: private cord blood banking and public donation banks. These options of cord blood banking have their own pros and cons. Presently, I will like to share their differentiation in order to help you choose the right option.
Profit making is the chief motive of a private cord blood bank. Public donation banks however, work for public welfare. There have been certain instances where public donation banks have given away stored cord blood from their stock for medical research purposes and raised money in return for benefit of their organization.
Cost to Parents
In case of private cord blood banks, parents need to bear a one time cost of approximately $1000 to $2000 along with an annual storage fee of approximately $100. In case of public donation banks, there is no expenditure to be incurred by donors.
There is a widespread web of collection centers of private cord blood banks at various locations around the country. However, public donation banks are located only at limited locations.
Ownership of Cord Blood
In case of private cord blood banks, ownership of cord blood always remains with parents of the child. However, in case of public donation banks, the donor loses his ownership over cord blood once the donation is made.
Access to Stored Cord Blood
In case of private cord blood banks, the child and rest of its family members including its parents have sure access to the stored cord blood. All one needs to do is contact the cord blood bank to get the required quantity of cells. However, in case of public donation banks, the access to stored cord blood is granted to all the general public on ‘first come first serve’ basis. If the donor happens to be in need of blood cells for his own treatment, there is no guarantee to receive his own donated cord blood.
In case of private cord blood banks, the matching process for cord blood and recipient can take place immediately. There is a guaranteed self match if the recipient is the child itself. If cord blood is to be received by child’s siblings, then there is a 25% chance of an identical match. However, in case of public donations, there are slim chances of finding a perfect match. A prolonged search to find matching cord blood may end unsuccessfully.
Retention of Cord Blood
Life of cord blood is generally expected to be 21 years. Once the contract is created between parents and private cord blood banks, the banks are expected to retain cord blood for assured number of years provided all monetary requisites are fulfilled by parents. There are no set conditions on volume of cord blood to be stored. In case of public donation banks, there are no fixed conditions on retention of donated cord blood. The authorities are free to retain it for public use or destroy it if required. Certain public donation banks are known for destroying cord blood collections that are less than 60 cc in volume.
In case of private cord blood banks, parents and family members do not need to bear any expenses for recovery of cord blood in time of emergencies. In case of public donations, recipients have to bear a recovery expense amounting to approximately $20000.
Collection and banking of cord blood is a matter of individual choice. It may not be financially feasible for a family to save their child’s cord blood in a private cord blood bank. However, there is nothing wrong in being a good Samaritan and choosing to donate your child’s cord blood instead.