Here are seven important questions to ask before deciding on a cord blood bank:
1. What are your yearly fees and maintenance costs? Find out how long these fees are guaranteed and when any possible increases might take place.
2. Are you accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)? AABB accreditation means that the facility is found to be compliant with the guidelines established by AABB for the specialized processing of stem cells. General accreditation is not the same thing.
3. What method of collection do you use? Blood bag gravity collections tend to be easier for physicians, but provide greater risk: there can be a plug of tissue from the insertion that may prevent or limit a full collection. Syringe collections are generally more reliable and provide a larger volume of cord blood without the risk of tissue plugs.
4. How financially stable is your company? Without a profit, they won't be around for the long haul, and you might have to transfer your sample if the facility closes. While you may not always get a straight answer to this question, doing some outside research should reveal if they have a track record for profitability.
5. Do you bank for family use in addition to autologous use? The Food and Drug Administration requires that certain testing be performed prior to storing the blood in order for it to be available to other family members. If the bank you choose doesn't perform this testing, then your baby's stem cell sample is banked autologously -- which means that it can only be used for your baby and not any other family members.
6. Would I be able to switch facilities? Do I have the option of transferring my baby's blood to another facility if I choose? What happens to my sample if the facility goes out of business?
7. What percentage of transplant attempts have been successful? This is really the bottom line. The average is 80 percent. If their response is any lower than that, you might want to look elsewhere.
Sources: The Nemours Foundation; Cord Blood Donor Foundation
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.