Storage and Donation
Because this is such a new area, researchers aren't yet sure how long the stem cells will last in storage. However, cells that have been stored for up to 14 years have been used successfully in transplants.
If you decide not to save your baby's cord blood for your family's use, you may have another option: donating it to public cord blood bank, where it could help someone else who needs a stem cell transplant. Every day, people throughout the U.S. and the world are searching the public registries for a potential life-saving match. The blood also might be used for research. Donating the blood to a public bank or research program won't cost you anything, but keep in mind that you give up all rights to it, no matter what happens in the future.
Also, since there are only a handful of public banks equipped to store cord blood, your hospital may not offer this as an option. You can visit the Web site of the National Marrow Donor Program, at www.marrow.org, to see if there is a program accepting donations in your area.
"It's most important that parents be educated about their options," says Dr. Szczepiorkowski. "It's also important for them to realize that in some cases, whether because of cost or location, there really won't be any options."
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