Deciding on Cord Blood Banking


A Candid Look at the Pros and Cons of Cord Blood Banking

There are already so many decisions to be made toward the birth of your child; what kind of practitioner do you choose; what�s the perfect name for your little one; do you get an epidural or go the natural route. Add one more decision to your list: Should I bank my baby�s umbilical cord blood?

Whether you get a brochure in your mailbox or faintly hear a conversation down the hall while at your doctor�s office, the decision is facing more and more expecting parents. Should you bank your baby�s cord blood? Each situation is different, and so you�ll want to consider the pros and cons of cord blood banking.

The Pros of Cord Blood Banking

There are many families for which cord blood banking makes sense. Certain issues, such as family histories of genetic diseases or belonging to certain ethnic or racial groups, factor into the decision.


  • History: If you have a family history or are worried about a predisposition to certain diseases, cord blood banking can give you peace of mind. Cord blood transplants treat over 45 diseases; malignancies, such as leukemia and other cancers; metabolic disorders; blood disorders, such as sickle-cell anemia, and immunodeficiencies. If this is your primary banking reason, then you should also consult a genetic counselor during your pregnancy.
  • Recipient Compatibility: Because cord blood is a more primitive source of stem cell, the recipient runs a lower risk of graft vs. host disease (GVHD), a potentially life-threatening immune response.
  • Accessility:Not only is cord blood easy to retrieve, because it's cryogenically stored, it is available for transplant whenever it is needed. Bone marrow, on the other hand, is more difficult to get a hold of; it is harder to find a donor matching your HLA type, and the process of retrieval is more complicated.
  • Race: Belonging to certain ethnic or racial groups may mean a longer wait to find a bone marrow donor; therefore, donating or privately banking your baby's cord blood will make transplants readily available to these individuals.


The Cons

While every parent wants to ensure their child�s health, there are some hurdles to universal cord blood banking.


  • Cost: While many companies in the profession view cord blood banking as an �insurance�, it�s understandable that the price may be too high for many families.
  • Likelihood: The American Association of Pediatrics estimated that the chances of banking and later using the stem cells for a transplant are about 1 in 20,000.
  • Size: When it comes to cord blood transplants, size matters. Since a typical harvest is enough to transplant a child or small adult (weighing approximately 115 lb.), although research is currently working on proliferating cells in the laboratory in order to match a larger sized adult.

For parents who find these hurdles unsurpassable, the option of donating your blood to a non-profit public bank is viable.


Decision Making

While pros and cons can help you sort out part of your concerns when making an informed decision, it�s certainly not the whole picture. You can only come to a conclusion to this personal decision once you�ve looked at more resources concerning the topic. So if you�re still unsure, browse the articles on this site to better inform yourself. Happy decision-making!

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