Have Questions About Cord Blood Banking?
The option to either donate your baby’s cord blood for public use or to bank it privately is not new, but the practice has been slow to catch on—only about 5 percent of new parents choose to save their newborn’s cord blood. If you don’t bank or donate it, it’ll get tossed as medical waste, but if you choose to save it, it can be used to treat about 80 blood disorders including non-hodgkins lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and leukemia. What’s more, scientists are currently hard at work exploring whether cord blood stem cells might be helpful in the treatment of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and type 1 diabetes. But backing up, a little more about the two options:
- Donating: Kind of like donating blood, your baby’s cord blood gets put in a public registry and can either be used for research or to help people needing a transplant. This option is free.
- Private banking: For a fee (which varies company to company), you can store your baby’s cord blood to be used only if your child or a family member ever needs it.
Unless there’s someone in your family with a medical condition that could benefit from a cord blood transplant, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends donating over banking privately. In most cases, if a child has a condition that could be helped by cord blood stem cells it will already be in the cord blood. Another important thing to note: Banks need to be notified 4 to 6 weeks before your due date if you’re interested in donating.
Intrigued by the option? Have questions? An online “mama-logue” will be taking place Friday, May 11 from 11am to 12pm EST to offer up more information about the two choices, criteria to use in selecting a cord blood bank, options for public donation, and more. Daria Klachko, MD, an ob-gyn at Saint Barnabas Hospital and Short Hills Surgery Center in New Jersey, Charis Ober, founder of Save the Cord Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational information regarding cord blood preservation, and Lisa Valastro, wife of TLC’s Cake Boss, and a mother of four, will be hosting the webinar, and will be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Click here to register.
Image: Newborn in mother’s arms via Shutterstock