Say No To Cord Blood Banking - Here's Why
Cord blood banking receives a lot of press these days. The question that a couple needs to ask, however, is if cord blood banking is really worth while? Is there a benefit to spending the money banking cord blood? There are a number of reasons that cord blood banking does not make sense for the majority of couples. Here is a discussion of some of these arguments.
Statistics on Cord Blood Banking
A healthy couple will probably not end up needing the baby's cord blood during the lifetime of the child. At the moment the American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is a 1:1000 to 1:200,000 chance that you will need your baby's stored cord blood. They also explain that, at the moment, the research doesn't indicate that using your own stem cells is more beneficial than using a matching donor's stem cells.
The Dollars Don't Add Up
If you're considering doing private cord blood banking, then you know that it's quite expensive. There is usually an initial processing fee and a banking fee. Then, there is an annual storage fee. The initial cost for processing the procedure, collecting the cord blood and storing it ranges from $600 to $1800 during the first year. Generally, the yearly storage fee after the first year is $100. This could be seen as a lot of money to spend on something that you will probably not need. Should you need the cord blood, then you've undoubtedly made a good decision. The research, however, does not support the idea that cord blood banking is so much more helpful in saving a child's life than are other less expensive methods.
Should you decide not to store your child's cord blood, it doesn't mean that you are giving him a death sentence, should he need a transplant. Rather, your child will be able to use a regular bone marrow transplant with a matching donor. It's also possible to find a cord blood match using a public cord blood bank. There are many options available, should you need a bone marrow transplant for a child.
Limited Shelf Life
Finally, while you may feel good storing cord blood and assume that it will be there for your child's entire life, it can't truly be helpful forever. At the moment, umbilical cord blood stem cells are only able to be used for a transplant in children or young adults. Cord blood banking doesn't provide enough stem cells to cover a successful adult transplant. So, even if you do store stem cells, they are only good while your child is still young.
It is certainly important to know the facts about cord blood banking and to make an educated decision for yourself and your family. Storing cord blood is a relatively new medical undertaking and has only been available since the 1970s. Some people store the cord blood with the expectation that future research will yield more life-saving uses for the stored blood. While this is certainly possible, no one can predict when medical breakthroughs will occur. Furthermore, most people can't afford the high cost of storing cord blood just for potential discoveries in the future. It is important for each couple to make an educated decision for themselves, weighting their emotional, physical and financial needs.