July 02, 2015 — Blog Post
National Cord Blood Awareness Month
When a woman is pregnant there are so many things to think about and decisions to make (from baby names to prenatal genetic testing). One decision some families ponder is whether or not banking cord blood is right for them.
In honor of National Cord Blood Awareness Month, here are some quick answers to common questions about cord blood to help get the moms- and dads-to-be you see in your practice thinking about what makes the most sense for their family.
- What is cord blood and what good is it?
Cord blood is what’s left in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. It’s special because it has a high concentration of stem cells. These cells can be used to treat about 80 different diseases, including certain cancers (like leukemia), blood disorders (like sickle-cell anemia), and many others.
- What are the options for saving cord blood?
There are two options for banking cord blood. It can be donated to a Public Bank, where anyone who needs it can look for a match. Or it can be stored at a Family Bank for the baby’s family to use if it’s ever needed.
- How much does it cost to bank cord blood?
Public banking is free. Family banking can be pricy, as there is usually a charge upfront to collect and process the blood and a yearly fee to store it.
- How long can cord blood be stored?
Research is still being done. It may be good to know that transplants have been done with stem cells that have been stored for as long as 13 years, and stem cells that have been frozen for more than 20 years also still seem viable.
- When do people need to make a decision?
Usually this is something to think about a few months before giving birth. Many Public Banks need women to register by their 34th week of pregnancy. Registering with a Family Bank is usually similar. Both types of banks may need time to send a collection kit that’s taken to the doctor at the time of delivery.
You can also check out the frequently asked questions pages at The US Department of Health and Human Services, BeTheMatch.org (a Public Banking organization), Cord Blood Registry (a Family Banking organization), or talk to your doctor.