Readers Weigh In

Fellow parents tell about how they came to their decisions.

Why They Did

Here's what our readers had to say on banking cord blood:

Reader One: "We decided to bank the cord blood. Our child is of a mixed race (Caucasian and Chinese) which would make finding a match more difficult if the need arose. With all the advancements in the medical community going on right now, I feel that although our ability to effectively use the banked blood right now may be limited, each month I hear about other medical advancements that give me more confidence that we did the right thing.

"Parents will take out a life insurance policy on their child, spending as much as the cord blood banking costs, and not think anything of it. Banking the cord blood is just another type of insurance policy, but one that you will not have to wait until your child dies to collect -- this is one that may help your child live. The $2,000 for the collection and 18 years of storage was well worth that extra peace of mind.

"If we have another child, I will not hesitate to do this again."

Reader Two: "Cryo-Cell only charges about $200 to bank it, plus shipping, plus $50 per year to store it. In my mind, this was not much money, compared to everything else I was already spending, for the possibility that it could someday save my child's life, no matter how small the chances. What if I did not bank it and then needed it someday? How much would I regret not banking it in that situation? Cryo-Cell only needed $50 down, plus shipping at the birth, and I could pay the remaining balance later. Of course, shipping is much higher on weekends, which is when my son was born.

"I will say, though, that the actual packaging of the blood after the birth was very complicated. There are packets of info for everyone, and lots of little jobs. My doctor missed my birth because he was at a memorial service for his wife's brother who died in the World Trade Center attack, so his partner had filled in. She collected the blood and then took off. The shift nurse also left. That left me and my doula (thank God I had her there) to package and ship it after being up all night with the birth. It took us about four hours to get everything done because we were so exhausted. I would recommend reading all materials, even those destined for others (doctors, nurses), beforehand. And reviewing everything that needs to be done with your doctor. And assigning the process to a friend who will be there after delivery. My baby was early so I had not had time to review everything and assign tasks."

Reader Three: "We plan on banking our baby's umbilical cord. We decided to do so after our ob-gyn recommended we look into it. She made the suggestion for a few reasons -- our baby was conceived through in vitro fertilization and we really don't know if we'll be having any other children in the future (I am 27 and my husband is 26). Also, because I am of Mediterranean descent and my husband is Chinese, it would be more difficult to find a donor match (if necessary) than if we were the same race. Therefore, we decided it would be worth it to do so. We went with Viacord -- they are not the cheapest by any means -- but they had the best customer service around. We are very happy with our decision and look forward to our baby's birth in two weeks!"

Reader Four: "We did bank our son's cord blood because we found a company that only cost a few hundred dollars and we felt that if we did it, we would probably never use it. But if we didn't, then we would need it someday. Just a layer of insurance."

Reader Five: "I chose to bank our daughter Clarice's cord blood primarily due to our family history of disease. Once we enrolled, we found out that we couldn't have chosen a better thing to do, since I developed a blood disorder which can be passed from a mother to her child in utero. Fortunately, at this time she shows no sign of this disorder, but it is reassuring to know the stem cells are available if medical science research finds a way to use them to treat this condition.

"We feel we have given our daughter at least one step ahead in any future obstacles she may encounter by banking her cord blood."

Reader Six: "When I learned that I was pregnant, I immediately began researching cord blood storage companies -- I knew that I would never forgive myself if my older son (he'll be 5 in July) were to relapse and the precious cells which could possibly be used to save his life were not available.

"Had my son not been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in October 1999, and/or I had not miscarried during my second pregnancy, I do not know if I would have chosen to store my daughter's cord blood. When your child is being treated for cancer, you witness the ups and downs of modern medicine. Unfortunately some of my son's friends from the hospital haven't been as lucky -- chemo doesn't work, bone marrow matches for a transplant cannot be found, or secondary complications arise. Taking these factors into consideration, the $95 annual storage fee is the best insurance for my son's future at this time.

"How long we will store these cells remains unanswered. At some point, my family will probably get HLA testing done to see how close of a match to my son we are, something we have not needed to do since he continues to respond to his chemotherapy treatment."

Reader Seven: "My husband and I decided to bank our baby's umbilical cord blood. We did so because I was adopted and don't know my family history. I pray that we never have to use it, but it puts our minds a little at ease knowing we have access to it. My ob-gyn also said he thought it was a good idea, and the nurse practitioner at his office had a baby three weeks before me and she did it."

Reader Eight: "We chose to bank the cord blood of both of our children. We have two boys under 2 years old. We do not have a lot of money, but could not pass up the opportunity to be better prepared if (God forbid) one of our children were to be stricken by disease at an early age. There is still a lot of controversy over the storage of cord blood, but if by some miracle it does work, we couldn't afford to be without it."

Reader Nine: "I saved my daughter's cord and stem cells. This technology is the wave of the future. I think that it is comforting to know that if my daughter needed a bone marrow transfusion, that her own cells will be available to her."

Reader Ten: "We banked our baby Kelly's blood because she has one older sister, eight (blood) aunts and uncles, and 19 first cousins. We thought with so many relatives, her blood may come in handy someday."

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