Considering banking your baby’s cord blood? Cord blood banking, the process of collecting and preserving a newborn’s stem cell-rich umbilical cord blood for potential future medical uses, can save lives. Should your baby or her sibling ever develop a disease of the blood or immune system, a cord blood transplant from a compatible donor (like her own umbilical cord, or a sibling's), may be used to treat the disease.
Here, Circle of Moms members who've banked their babies' cord blood at birth weigh in on the costs, the process, and why they decided to preserve this source of genetically compatible stem cells.
The Potential Payoffs
While some contend that the chance your child will ever need to use the cord blood is low, moms who've opted to bank their babies' umbilical cords say this hedge is well worth the cost and effort.
“I couldn't put a price on something that has the potential to save the life of someone I love,” says Circle of Moms member Jessica G., herself a survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She decided to bank her daughter’s cord blood and is “very happy" with her decision. "I hope that she lives a long healthy life and [that] I never ever need to use the cord blood for her, but I'm glad that I will not be in a position to ever regret NOT having had it banked. If you can afford it at all, I would say go for it.”
The rewards of cord blood banking are not merely hypothetical; Circle of Moms member Rachel M. shares that cord blood saved the life of a friend: “I have a close family friend who was saved from leukemia in the prime of his 30's, thanks to cord blood.”
In addition to the potential benefit to the child whose blood you're banking, cord blood also holds promise for family members with life-threatening medical conditions. As Jamie explains: “The good thing about storing your second child's cord blood is that it may be compatible with the first child. Stem cells are amazing. Having the security [of] knowing that they will be there is priceless.”
The Cost of Cord Blood Banking
While the fees for private cord blood banking are not insignificant, many Circle of Moms members say there are ways to shoulder them. Stephanie C. relays: "It's a good investment in my opinion, you can separate the initial fee of $1,200 into 6 months, and then the banking itself is like 120 bucks a year..."
Katie J. offers a similar perspective: "CBR, who I’m going through, allows payments, that are VERY affordable, with no credit check to qualify for them, and no interest. They also give a VERY nice military discount." She also contends that the $150 annual storage fee is relatively low: “Heck I spend $150 a year on just junk."
If the price is out of reach, consider Leigh C.’s suggestion: "Ask friends and family to help cover the costs "as a gift to the child.”
Several moms also suggest donating your child's cord blood to a public or not-for-profit bank like the Caitlin Raymond International Registry, The American Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR), or The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Although you lose the right to claim the cord blood for your own family, this option is free and strengthens an important public resource.
The Cord Blood Banking Process
Ready to go ahead with cord blood banking? As moms like Leigh C. explain, the process of private cord blood banking is quite straightforward: “It's really very simple...you call, set up an account, and they send you a collection kit. When you deliver, the Ob collects the blood and you call the pick-up number and someone comes to the hospital and takes the kit."
The process after pick-up is simple too, relays Christina H.: “After the sample is collected, you can receive notification: They called us when they received the sample to let us know how many cells were retrieved and that the sample taken was good.”