February 11, 2016
Private Cord Blood Banking: 6 Things You Need to Know
So, you’ve been doing some research on private cord blood banking. Feeling overwhelmed by all the information you’re uncovering?
To help you sort through the deluge, here are six things you need to know:
- Cord blood transplants have been in use for more than 25 years.
In 1988, Dr. Elaine Gluckman of St. Louis Hospital in Paris performed the first successful cord blood transplant. The transplant was performed on a 5-year-old boy with Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disorder.1 Since then, cord blood has been approved to treat more than 80 diseases.2
- If you choose to bank cord blood, you may want to plan ahead.
When deciding to bank cord blood, there are medical history documents that you will need to complete prior to giving birth. To make the cord blood banking process a success, contact your cord blood bank of choice as early as possible in your pregnancy so you can ensure everything is in order.
- There are about 30 private cord blood banks in the U.S.
Private cord blood banks, also known as family cord blood banks, are companies that collect, process and store your cord blood specifically for your family, so you can access it if needed. View a list of cord blood banks in the U.S. Lifebank is the only cord blood bank that offers placental blood banking to expectant parents. Both of these banking opportunities increase the total number of stem cells and tissues that you can save for potential future medical use.
- Financial aid may be available for families that choose private cord blood banking.
Many cord blood banks offer programs that cover the cost of processing and storage if you have a sick family member that might benefit from a cord blood transplant. In addition, certain insurance companies may offer assistance if that sick individual needs to be treated with cord blood in the near future.
- All cord blood is screened and tested.
Private banks require that all mothers undergo medical screening and all cord blood is tested for infectious diseases and contamination.
- If preserved properly, cord blood can be stored for a long time.
Cord blood is stored in a nitrogen freezer, the same technology used to store donated sperm. Studies have shown that cord blood stem cells continue to be viable after being frozen for more than 23 years.3
- Gluckman E. History of cord blood transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplantation 2009;44:621-626.
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Diseases treated by stem cell transplant. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Diseases treated by stem cell transplant. Available at https://www.stjude.org/treatment/services/bone-marrow-transplant/patient-education/diseases-treated-by-stem-cell-transplant.html?vgnextoid=8beffa2454e70110VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD&vgnextchannel=34cabfe82e118010VgnVCM1000000e2015acRCRD.
- Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation. Frequently Asked Questions. Available at http://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/faqs.