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  Cord Blood Banking
  About Cord Blood
  Cord Blood Stem Cells
  Diseases Treated
  Pros and Cons
  How To Preserve
  Banking Process
  Why Cord Blood Banking
  Types of Cord Blood Banks
  Public Cord Blood Bank
  Private Cord Blood Bank
  Selecting Cord Blood Bank
  Cost For Cord Blood Banking
  Ethical Issues
  Cord Blood FAQs

Options for Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

When you have a child, you have the opportunity to collect a unique resource – umbilical cord blood. This blood is special because it contains stem cells which are being used in the treatment of a number of serious diseases and chronic conditions, including leukemia and some other types of cancer. There are a number of other diseases that are currently being treated, and an additional number that are being studied and for which stem cell treatment may be used in the future.

For your child's umbilical cord blood to be used, it will have to be stored in a cord blood bank. There are essentially two types of banks – public and private. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you choose a public cord blood bank, there’s no charge to you to make a donation. However, you should be aware that not all hospitals participate and depending on where you deliver your baby, this may not be an option. If you choose a public cord blood bank, the bank will pay for collection, testing and storage; although you have no further rights or claims to the blood once the donation is made. For example, you can’t change your mind and take the blood back, or make a specific request if someone in your family needs a transplant of cord blood cells.

If you choose a private cord blood bank, you’ll pay for testing and storage, and possibly even for collection as well. However, this blood will belong to you and will be reserved for only you and those people you authorize. Great care should be taken to choose the correct bank if you decide that this is the best option for your family. You’re entrusting the private cord blood bank with a potentially invaluable resource, so you must determine whether or not the business is stable enough to protect your resource. You should also be aware that there is – at present – no research which conclusively indicates that receiving your own cord blood is more beneficial than receiving any cord blood that’s a match for you, should you have the need in the future.

If your baby has a biological sibling or biological parent who’s in need of an umbilical cord blood transplant, be aware that you have the option of making a directed donation. This means that once the blood is collected, it will be tested to determine if it’s a match for the family member in need. There’s usually no charge to the family for this, although the insurance company of the recipient may be billed if the cells are administered.

There’s one additional option you should be aware of – donating your child's umbilical cord blood for research purposes. This is a good option if, for example, you have HIV and your baby's umbilical cord blood may also carry the virus. The umbilical cord blood in this instance could still be used for research purposes, increasing the potential usefulness of umbilical cord blood in the future.

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