28 Jun What is Cord Blood Banking?
Since 1988, greater than 35,000 people have received umbilical cord blood for the correction of metabolic, malignant and genetic disorders.¹
As you approach your baby’s due date, it is your medical provider’s role to discuss the option of banking your baby’s cord blood after birth. You might be wondering what this is and what are the benefits to your family or others.
What is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is blood collected from a newborn’s umbilical cord, shortly after birth, either before or after the placenta is delivered. Cord blood contains hematopoietic cells (stem cells), which are immature cells that have the power to develop into many different types of cells; cells that are responsible for a healthy blood system during a human being’s entire life span.
The benefit of collecting and storing cord blood is that it can be used at a later time for the life-saving benefit of people, related or unrelated, to the cord blood donor baby. Cord blood cannot be used for genetic diseases (like leukemia) within the same transplant, but it can be transplanted into a sibling or an unrelated person without needing an exact match. In this way, cord blood can be made available for treatment more quickly than bone marrow.²
The other benefits of cord blood is that it can be collected simply and with low risk to mother and baby.²
Many national organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) endorse the collection of cord blood after birth.²
Cord Blood Banking
If you elect to collect and store your baby’s umbilical cord blood, you have two options for storage: private or public banking. In general, private banking is considered for the use of cord blood in family members with a medical condition, such as malignant cancer or genetic disease. Public banking is recommended for immune therapies and can be used for people related or unrelated to the donor. The National Marrow Donor Program maintains a list of hospitals that work with public umbilical cord blood banking, as well as a state-by-state list of public banks. Two other excellent, comprehensive resources are The Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The collection and storage of cord blood in a public bank is free, funded by legislation that’s goal is to increase public cord blood banking, particularly among minorities who are currently underrepresented.
Here is the general breakdown of the differences between private and public cord blood banking.
|Private Cord Blood Banking||Public Cord Blood Banking|
As you approach your third semester, have a conversation with your provider about the benefits and costs to banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood. Your provider’s role is to educate and counsel on the topic, so reaching out to your provider is a great way to find out more about cord blood banking. Sign up with Mommyato to gain access to additional resources to learn more about cord blood banking.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. March 2019. Umbilical cord banking.
- American Family Physician. September 2011. Umbilical cord blood: a guide for primary care physicians.