Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Is Cord Blood Banking Worth It Or Not?

New parents have a lot of concerns, some of which can be daunting. A recent medical trend, cord blood banking, has raised new questions for expecting parents - when my child is born, is cord blood banking worth it or not?

First of all, what is cord blood banking?  Quite simply, it is the process of harvesting your child's umbilical cord blood to use later - should the need arise - to help doctor's prevent and treat disease in your child should he or she ever become ill.  

Umbilical cord blood is blood which remains in the placenta, as well as in the umbilical cord after childbirth.  It is rich in stem cells and can be used to treat hematopoietic (blood diseases, bone marrow cancers) and genetic disorders.  While the medical research community is still assessing the efficacy of cord blood stem cell treatment, there are some indications that approximately 1 in 3 patients could benefit from future advances in cord blood stem cell transplant procedures.  This includes the treatment of brain injury, type 1 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular repair, stroke prevention and hearing loss.
Stem Cell Differentiation Examples
Still, much has been written about the benefits and disadvantages of cord blood banking which has caused many expecting parents to ask, is cord blood banking worth it or not?  First of all, let's look at the numbers.  The American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is a very slim chance that any child will ever need to use their harvested cord blood.  There is approximately a 1:1000 to 1:200,000 chance that any child will ever undergo a procedure or indeed, even become ill with a condition that would warrant it.

Secondly, the expenses associated with cord blood banking are quite high.  Private cord blood banking will almost certainly be subject to both processing and banking fees, as well as an annual storage fee.  After the initial administrative costs, as well as the annual amount which cord blood banks will request, there is are costs associated with the procedure itself, which may or may not be covered under your current medical insurance coverage.  It is quite common for new parents to pay upwards of $1800 for the first year (including the procedure and storage) and then yearly storage fees of $100.  

Cord blood banking is essentially an insurance policy against possible future illness, but if you as a parent simply cannot afford it, there are always other options should your child become sick.  It should be noted, that the research as of today, does not support the concept that cord blood banking will be more successful in helping save your child's life than other methods, which are much less expensive.

While private blood cord banks will tell you that cord blood can potentially save your child's life, there are still other options for parents who choose to forgo the cord blood harvesting procedure.  For example, public cord blood banks can find matches for your child's blood type - much like if they needed a blood transfusion.  Furthermore, bone marrow transplants for your child would be available under the same parameters.  More importantly, consideration must be given to the fact that cord blood and its associated stem cells can only aid your child into young adult hood, as an adults transplant needs can not be satisfied with limited number of stem cells available in the blood itself.


  1. Followed Amigo, return the favor :)

  2. What it comes down to is a cost vs advantage. We all know there is more to it.

  3. How important do you think stem cell research is for the future of genetics?

    Also, following. Interesting blog.

  4. Really great blog and i really got a lot of information and understand the importance of Cord Blood Banking.thanks for sharing the great post.