Saving your baby’s umbilical cord blood allows it to be cryogenically stored, and then available if your child later becomes sick and needs a bone marrow transplant. Umbilical cord blood was discarded until the 1970’s, when researchers discovered that umbilical cord blood could save lives under certain circumstances. How do you decide on cord blood banking? Many soon-to-be parents ask this very question. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to bank your baby’s umbilical cord blood.
This type of transplant would be ‘autologous’ and is different than the more common ‘allogenic’ transplants that might be done from a sibling or other relative or an unrelated donor. Our own blood is the best choice for a transplant.
Often times, cord blood banking can save a baby’s life. But still, there are many other factors to consider. Price seems to be the number one roadblock, with the complete cost being around $3,000. So, you should certainly not feel guilty if you cannot bank your child’s cord blood. Should you even consider cord blood banking? That part will be up to you.
However, if you already have a child or family member that has a condition that can be treated with a stem cell transplant (such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, leukemia, metabolic storage disorders and certain genetic immunodeficiencies), then you definitely should consider banking your child’s umbilical cord blood. However, the average baby without risk factors has a very low chance of ever needing his or her cord blood.
On the other hand, some doctors and researchers support saving umbilical cord blood as a source of blood-forming stem cells in every delivery. This is mainly because of the promise that stem-cell research holds for the future. The majority of people would have little use for stem cells now, but research into the use of stem cells for the treatment of diseases is ongoing – and the future looks promising.
You may also want to donate your baby’s cord blood. This is possible through non-profit cord blood banks that use it for research or to save the life of another child.
Overall, cord blood banking looks to have a promising future. It’s definitely an option you should look into. After you’ve studied the facts and your family history, you should be able to make a much more informed decision on what’s right for you.