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Why I Stored My Baby's Cord Blood

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If you knew there was an insurance that could potentially save your child's life, wouldn't you buy it?

Woman in hospital holding baby

momlogic's jenny: Before my son was born, I picked up a brochure at my OB/GYN's about Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking. Cord blood, which is also called "placental blood," is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth and after the cord is cut. Cord blood, which is usually discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord, contains stem cells that are genetically unique to you and your family. Stem cells, can only be found in bone marrow, peripheral blood (the blood that circulates through your body), and umbilical cord blood ... And birth is the only time you can collect umbilical cord blood. Meaning, if your child develops a life threatening disease like leukemia, sickle cell, or even juvenile diabetes, doctors cannot use your child's stem cells to treat their illness unless you've collected it.

As my OB/GYN put it, "It's an insurance policy. Without really knowing the full potential of what it can cure (though it has cured some things), it really comes down to if you have the money and it won't break you. You hope that it's money you're throwing down the tubes." The cost to collect, process, and bank these cells can cost up to $2000. Plus, there is usually an annual fee of around $125 to store the collected cord blood. For some families, banking cord blood is an "insurance" that is worth every penny. But for others, spending this kind of money without enough evidence that the cord blood really can cure nearly 70 diseases is simply not an option.

Without hesitation, we made the decision to go for it. It wasn't that parting with 2000 bucks was no biggie, but deciding to use money towards what could potentially (god forbid) save my child's life seems like a no brainer. Plus, the collection process is totally noninvasive and takes less than 5 minutes (and at that point, 5 minutes is nothing compared to the labor you've just endured). Right after my son was born, my doctor stuck a needle in the umbilical cord. The cord, though not attached to my son, was still attached to the the placenta which was still attached to me; Through the needle, the cord blood was collected and placed in to a special kit sent to us from Cord Blood Registry, one of the many cord blood banking and storage facilities out there. Within hours of the delivery, a courier came to the hospital, picked up the sealed package and shipped it back to a natural disaster safe compound in Arizona where it will hopefully never have to see the light of day. Ever. Again.

Many people I know, including many of the staffers here, did not bank their child's cord blood and think it's a complete waste. I can understand that without a guarantee that these cells could really cure an illness, it's hard to "throw away" that kind of money. But knowing that these cells are available and could save my child's life, was all the evidence I needed. And for me, you can't put a price tag on that peace of mind.

Did you store your baby's cord blood? Would you? Tell us your thoughts in our Pregnancy Group!


Want more? Connect with Jenny in the Momlogic community.


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67 comments so far | Post a comment now
ame i. March 17, 2009, 10:20 AM

It was still a very new process when I had my children. I wish I had known more, because I would have done it with both of my daughters without a second thought.

Gigohead  March 17, 2009, 10:33 AM

Jenny, congrats on your new baby.

I do applaud your decision to store your cord blood, but I am skeptical and believe that these cord banks are “banking” on the fear that every woman has and I find that disturbing. If banking blood is so crucial? why isn’t it mandatory?

Most bothersome to me is that women with no or low income cannot afford this, making this “cure” only to those who can afford it. I’m now expecting my third child in October. I will not be electing for this any time soon.

Anonymous March 17, 2009, 10:55 AM

Congratulations! We were in the same discussion a few weeks ago, and researched quite a bit on donation cord blood vs rpivate banking. After a lot of research, we decided to go for private banking with CBR. Cost was a concern initially, but we found a coupon that gave us a $650 discount on the entire package that included 18 years of storage (coupon code we used was MANGO). The best part was this coupon worked with CBR’s interest-free plan. I’m glad that we finally signed-up and hope that we don’t need to use the stem cells.

Anonymous March 17, 2009, 11:22 AM

Personally I think those valuable stem cells are of more use to the child whose umbilical cord they are collected from at the time of birth. I refuse to allow the cord to be cut with my children until the cord stopped pulsing and my child had ALL of HIS blood and stem cells to start his life with. There are many lasting health benefits of doing so.

MotherProof.com March 18, 2009, 12:07 PM

While it was still very new when my daughters were born (and I was struggling to make ends meet) I didn’t feel the draw to store my girls’ cord blood. However, I did recognize the benefit for other matches and made a special request to donate the cord blood.

Caroline March 23, 2009, 4:09 PM

Hi there Jenny,

Thanks for sharing your story ! I have posted a link to it from our Twitter page !
Feel free to follow us! We are at twitter.com/savethecord

Thanks!

Caroline

Wendy April 9, 2009, 12:56 PM

In my opinion, Cord Blood Banking was a great insurance policy so to say. My son’s great-grandmother has Luekemia, his other Great-great Granmother had heart conditions and cancer…. who’s to say these are not hereditary? I do not want to take the chance! My son has options. The money was paid in installments and was not that expensive. Consider not buying a new couch or Entertainment unit for one year and then each year after, don’t buy that one $10.00 movie you wanted each month… there’s your annual fee. Regardless of how you feel about the whole ‘Stem Cell’ package, isn’t it worth that extra piece of mind…. just in case??

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