Umbilical cord blood banking is an option that is becoming increasingly available for new parents. Cord blood storage is an important option for pregnant women. Storing cord blood can mean the difference between losing the battle against an unexpected disease, or curing the disease and living a full life. The availability of cord blood can replace the need for bone marrow transplants and can be much more successful.
Choosing a Cord Blood Bank
Your physician will help you choose a cord blood bank. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “It is important to use a cord blood bank accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).”
Cord Blood Collection
Cord blood collection takes place during delivery. It does not matter if the delivery is vaginal or caesarian. The delivering physician may collect the cord blood by either elevating the umbilical cord and draining the cord blood into a bag, or by drawing the cord blood from the umbilical cord using a syringe. This must be done within 15 minutes of delivery. Cord blood collection poses no risks to the mother or baby because the collection takes place after delivery.
Cord Blood Preservation
Cord blood processing begins with the separation of stem cells from the red blood cells and plasma in the blood. Securacell, a cryogenic cord blood storage facility, begins the cord blood preservation process by exposing the vials to “a slow-rate introduction to the freezing process.” This slowly introduces the cord blood stem cells to progressively lower temperatures until they are ready to be stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at a temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cord Blood Storage
Cord blood is sent to a laboratory and processed within 48 hours of collection. Cord blood collected for personal or family use is stored at the cord blood bank of the patient’s choosing. This is called private cord blood banking. Donated cord blood is stored at one of many foundations, non-profit cord blood banks, or other institutions.
Cost of Cord Blood Banking
The American Pregnancy Association reports that there are two costs associated with cord blood banking. The initial cord blood banking fee is determined by the amount of time the cord blood will be stored. This can range from $900 to $2,100. Annual storage fees vary among cord blood banks and average $100.
Donating Cord Blood
Cord blood is thrown away when cord blood donations or cord blood banking arrangements are not made. Donating cord blood can give the gift of life at no cost or risk to the donor. Unlike private cord blood banking, cord blood donations cost nothing to the donor.
Umbilical cord blood banking is a very easy process for the donor. Cord blood collection takes place immediately after childbirth and the preservation and storage occur at the cord blood bank. While private cord blood banking has an initial and annual cost, cord blood donations are free. Donating cord blood may save a life.