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Who Can Use Cord Blood From a Private Bank?

If you are an expectant mother, then chances are, you have likely started to do some research on how to have a healthy pregnancy or the do’s and don’ts of your first trimester–especially if you are a first-time parent. Once your due date approaches, you will find that the internet can be an excellent resource […]

If you are an expectant mother, then chances are, you have likely started to do some research on how to have a healthy pregnancy or the do’s and don’ts of your first trimester–especially if you are a first-time parent. Once your due date approaches, you will find that the internet can be an excellent resource for you to connect with and learn from other expectant mothers.

As you browse through countless blogs and articles on pregnancy tips, experiences, and advice from other parents, you might start to see more and more buzz surrounding cord blood banking and its long-term benefits for your family. If you decide to read more about it, you might start to ask yourself if banking your baby’s cord blood is something you should do. But before you make any decision, it’s important to understand what stem cell banking is, what it’s used for, and who can use the cord blood in the future.

The Value of Cord Blood

Before we dive into the details and benefits of cord blood, let’s talk about what cord blood is. Cord blood is the rich source of stem cells that remain in the placenta and umbilical cord after the birth of a baby. They are the building blocks of our blood and are known as Hematopoietic cells or blood-forming cells. If you weren’t aware, stem cells are the foundation of our immune system, which is why cord blood stem cells are so valuable. They reproduce into red blood cells and boost the immune system by repopulating damaged blood cells.

The hype surrounding stem cell research and its uses started in the nineties. Shortly after, researchers and physicians discovered that the blood inside an umbilical cord and tissue was rich with stem cells and was presented as a “safer” alternative to bone marrow transplants that are used to treat other diseases. The discovery eventually led to private cord blood storage banks and public cord blood donation banks throughout the world and have been a postpartum option for mothers ever since.

Who Can Use Cord Blood?

So the million-dollar question is who can use or access your baby’s stored cord blood? Before we answer this question, we are going to break it up into two parts, because the answers are dependent on whether or not you choose to donate the cord blood to a public bank or store the cord blood at a private bank. Either way, a decision should be made at least three months prior to your delivery date.

 

  • Who can use cord blood from a public donation bank?

If you decide on donating the cord blood, it will be donated to a public cord blood bank after being collected and tested after delivery. As we mentioned above, the choice of whether or not you are going to donate should be made before delivery and should be discussed with your doctor or midwife. It must be discussed beforehand so they know whether or not to collect the umbilical cord after birth and also so they can make sure that the donations can be made at your hospital. Once the cord blood is tested and meets the standard requirements, it will be stored at the public cord blood bank until a patient needs it. There are pros and cons to donating. For example, donating your baby’s cord blood has zero out-of-pocket expenses, but the downside is that it is not stored and saved for your child or family.  
 

  • Who can use cord blood from a private storage bank?

If you decide to store your baby’s cord blood with a private stem cell storage bank, you are preserving these valuable stem cells for your baby (or family) to possibly use in the future. A baby is a 100% match to their own stem cells, which can be used to treat non-genetic diseases and cancers. They can also be used for siblings and family members. Treatments using a family member’s cells can be twice as successful as those of a non-relative donor. However, unlike cord blood donations, storing cord blood stem cells in a private bank is not free, but there are plenty of affordable options for parents to choose from.

Conclusion

There are so many benefits to your baby’s stem cells and it’s important to understand that choosing to bank privately or donate publicly will affect who can use the cord blood in the future. No matter what you decide, it’s important to remember that both options still result in the collection of umbilical cord stem cells that can potentially save someone’s life.

If you are considering cord blood banking and want to know more about the process and who can access it in the future, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Closeup of a couple embracing the mother’s pregnant belly.