It has been a while now; I have been researching about umbilical cords and stem cells, where I came across a very frequently associated question – how much is cord blood banking? Before I give you the answer, let me explain some important things about it. If you feel that you know everything about cord blood banking and want to know its cost alone, click the associated link given below:
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after birth. This blood is discarded. However, cord blood banks offer facilities to store & preserve this. As a parent, if you decide to store your baby’s cord blood, then it is vital to go for a cord blood bank that is AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) accredited. One such is Viacord. For further information, you can contact Viacord at their toll-free number: 1-866-384-0476.
What Is Cord Blood Used For?
The baby’s cord blood has some lifesaving cells known as “stem cells,” which have an incredible power to cure or heal a disease. Today, the stem cells from cord blood are widely used in treating about 80 different health disorders, even including few cancer types and blood diseases. Still researchers continue to expand different uses of cord blood. Storing your kid’s stem cells means that you have access to his or her stem cells at the time of need.
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking is a medical process in which a baby’s umbilical cord stem cells are collected and stored for future medical use. The place, where it is stored is called “Cord Blood Bank” and can be classified into two major types:
- Private cord blood bank
- Public cord blood bank
Cord blood banks exist since 1990. It is mainly used to treat some blood diseases & immune system disorders.
Why Should You Store Your Baby’s Blood In A Bank?
So, why as a parent should you use cord blood bank? A cord blood is a rich source of stem cells (genetically associated to the baby & his or her family). These stem cells contribute to the development of organs, tissues and other body systems.
Stem cells from a baby’s cord blood might be extremely useful in treating few conditions of a sibling or parent. Stem cells can transform into different cell types to generate new growth & development. They are like immune system’s building blocks. This cell transformation gives a physician the right way or method to treat few inherited health issues. Therefore, cord blood banking is often helpful to families, who naturally inherit some health disorders.
Banking baby’s stem cells and blood in a cord blood bank is more like insurance. Preferably, one will not require accessing his or her baby’s stem cells to address a specific medical condition. However, using cord blood bank provides a relief knowing that one has a valuable source when he or she needs it.
How Is A Baby’s Cord Blood Collected?
The process of cord blood is safe, painless and simple. It does not take more than 5 minutes and is taken right after the baby’s birth. Most importantly, it is 100% possible in both cesarean and vaginal deliveries. A healthcare provider often uses either the bag method or syringe method to collect blood.
- Bag Method: Here, the umbilical cord is elevated to drain blood into a bag.
- Syringe Method: Here, a syringe is used to draw blood from the umbilical cord within a few moments after it is been cut. It is more like a blood test.
The cord blood must be collected only during the initial 15-minutes following birth. Lab officials should process it within 48-hours of its collection. Whether it is the bag method or syringe, it has to be labeled with a distinct number. It denotes your baby’s cord blood.
What Are The Risks During The Process?
Surprisingly there is NO health risk involved while collecting cord blood. In fact, the process is so easy and painless that mother or baby doesn’t even realizes if such a thing is done. The blood is collected from umbilical cord right after the birth. There is neither discomfort nor pain. It is 100% safe and does not cause any harm.
What Happens After The Cord Blood Is Collected?
Once the baby’s cord blood is collected, it will be then processed & stored by a laboratory accredited by AABB (American Association of Blood Banks).
What If You Don’t Want To Store Your Baby’s Cord Blood?
Your baby’s stem cells could be extremely valuable for other families if not to you. From institutions to medical facilities and nonprofit blood banks, numerous locations collect, process, store and utilize stem cells of your baby’s cord blood for treating people, who are in need. For this, there isn’t any cost involved, meaning the one donating the cord blood won’t be charged. If you don’t prefer to store your baby’s cord blood, try donating it at least. This donation could seriously make a big difference in someone’s life.
Can You Store Your Baby’s Cord Blood Without Paying?
Yes of course. There are three ways you can do this:
- One, it is possible only if you have a family member with a qualifying medicinal condition and who might require a therapy using newborn’s cells.
- Two, there are many cord blood banks that run different charity programs for storing cord blood for free, but this is only if any existing member of the family – either the sibling or parent of the baby had a health issue treated with stem cell therapy. Moreover, you will be asked to have your doctor write down the associated medical history. Only then, you will be accepted in such a medical program. For further information on such charity programs, you can see here: Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.
- Three, you are eligible for a free cord blood banking only if your baby has been diagnosed with a medical condition before birth. For this, you have to participate in clinical trials earlier. For instance, if your baby is been diagnosed with congenital heart problem or hydrocephalus prior his or her birth, then there are special programs, which allows you to enter a good hospital for delivery. There, the cord blood of your baby will be collected and stored with appropriate care.
Not All Mothers Can Donate Cord Blood
Here are few criteria that stop a mother from donating the cord blood:
- Mothers who are 18 years old or even younger are not eligible to donate their cord blood.
- If a mother is treated for an illness like cancer, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or Hepatitis, then she will not be able to donate cord blood.
- A mother will not be able to donate if she has delivered a premature baby (because there might not be sufficient cord blood to collect).
The Cord Blood Is Always Screened & Tested
It doesn’t matter if you go to a public bank or private bank for storing cord blood, but one is always tested for different infections like HIV, Hepatitis and so on. If the results happen to be positive for any infection or disease, then cord blood cannot be stored.
If Cord Blood Is Preserved Properly, It Is Long Lasting?
Storing cord blood requires nitrogen freezer ( the same technology that is used for freezing a donated sperm). It helps it to last long. The scientists who first introduced cord blood conservation methods in the 1990s confirmed that few of their first specimens were stored 23+ years ago and were still as fresh as the newly collected ones.
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