What are my options for saving my baby’s cord blood?
There are two types of cord blood banks: family banks (which stores for one’s own family for a fee) and public donor banks (which stores for donation to an anonymous patient). Every parent has the option to save cord blood for use by their baby and family, but only a limited number of parents can donate their baby’s cord blood stem cells since only certain hospitals collect for donation.
Why do families choose to collect and store their baby’s cord blood?
Peace of Mind
Families save their baby’s cord blood stem cells with CBR for peace of mind – viewing it as a type of “biological insurance” – since these stem cells may be lifesaving to their family. Most of CBR’s clients have no family history of disease, but recognize the current and future potential of their newborn’s cord blood stem cells as a biological resource if ever needed.
Families know that there is only one opportunity – at birth – to collect these genetically unique stem cells and if not taken, the cord blood is simply discarded.
Lifetime of Protection
Families recognize that their baby’s cord blood may offer a lifetime of protection:
- The baby’s cord blood may be used to treat nearly 80 diseases. Stem cells have been used for decades in lifesaving treatments for diseases including leukemia, other cancers, and blood disorders.
- Cord blood stem cells are showing significant potential to treat conditions that have no cure today – like juvenile diabetes and brain injury.
- The baby’s cord blood is immediately available for the family if needed, and faster treatment is always better.
- For use in regenerative medicine therapies using cord blood, the child’s own stem cells are required.
- For treating cancers and blood disorders in transplant medicine, having the family’s own cord blood available may offer significant advantages if ever needed, including fewer complications, improved survival, and a better quality of life without the need for continual anti-rejection medications.
- Some families have more defined risk factors, but most families bank for the security of knowing the health benefits that stem cells may someday offer their children, themselves, or other family members.
Should I save cord blood for all of my children?
It is important to save cord blood for each child in the family:
- By saving cord blood for each child, each child will have access to treatments that require one’s own stem cells – in both transplant and regenerative medicine therapies. For other diseases that require a donor’s cells, siblings are the preferred donors.
- Saving cord blood for all children in a family provides related sources of stem cells for potential use and increases the likelihood of match between family members. Siblings have a 75% chance of using each other’s cord blood, compared to only a 25% with bone marrow.
- In the case of identical twins, it is still important to save cord blood for each child as it is extremely difficult to determine if twins are indeed identical. Additionally, it is important to collect the maximum amount of cord blood in case it is ever needed. Collecting for only one baby risks not having genetically identical cord blood for both babies. Each child’s cord blood is banked separately.