Weighing the Cord Blood Storage Options

Some parents consider banking their newborn’s cord blood because they have a family medical history of diseases that can be treated with stem cell transplants, including leukemia or lymphoma, anemia, sickle cell anemia or an immune deficiency. The chance that a child without risk factors will ever need his own banked cord blood is low.

While reassurance is nice to have, cord-blood banking can be expensive ($1,000–$2,000 at the outset) and require a yearly storage fee (about $100) for as long as the blood is stored. That could be for many years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “does not recommend storing cord blood at private banks for later personal or family use as a general ‘insurance policy.’” The organization notes that if your child has a genetic disease or condition, most likely his or her cord-blood stem cells would also have that condition, which often means they can’t be used for treatment.

But the AAP does encourage families to donate their newborn’s cord blood to a local public cord-blood bank for other people in need. Just be aware that you wouldn’t be able to access your baby’s cord blood, specifically, from that public bank if you wanted it later on.

If your family history suggests that cord-blood banking may be of value, it’s good to know the option exists now, in time to make an informed decision. For more information on cord blood banking, private or public, talk to your healthcare provider, and see this info from the National Marrow Donor Program.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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