"Is saving my baby's cord blood important?" you may wonder. And with good reason. Modern science has developed many medical treatments that use the stem cells from saved cord blood. You may feel like banking your baby's cord blood represents a great way to safeguard their health. Why not weigh the advantages of saving umbilical cord blood against the disadvantages?
New and exciting developments in cord blood may make it much more useful beyond stem cell therapies in the near future. Clinical trials involving cerebral palsy, stroke at birth, type 1 diabetes and more may present more ways cord blood stem cells may be used.
On the other hand, the chances of your child experiencing a medical need for stem cells sourced from cord blood is fairly small. Some estimate that it's as low as .004 percent.
If leukemia or other illnesses treated by stem cell therapy are prominent in your family's health history, you may feel more inclined to preserve your baby's cord blood. If you have older children, your new baby's cord blood may help a sibling, as genetically they're closer than anyone else.
In the future, researchers may further develop ways to use stem cells from adult patients to treat these patients' own health conditions. Use of stem cells from cord blood may decrease.
Cord banking is expensive. It's not simply a one-time cost of saving the cord blood, but the ongoing expense of proper storage (thus it's called "cord blood banking"). Most cord blood banks charge up to $2,500 initially and $300 for annual storage fees for the next 18 to 25 years. Depending upon the cord banking company, that's about $10,000 or more (assuming they lock in their prices). Many families may find that extra expense just doesn't fit in their budget.
You also must trust that the cord blood banking company properly preserves, labels and stores your baby's cord blood. Should the stem cells deteriorate too much over time, they won't help your child. The cord blood company must also stay in business if ever your family needs to use your baby's cord blood.
If a family member, including baby, experiences a qualifying health condition that could benefit from cord blood, you can likely receive free cord banking at the time of birth.
Should you decide to bank your baby's cord blood, make arrangements well in advance of your due date to ensure everything is ready for proper storage.