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Banking on your baby’s blood: private or public?

Banking umbilical cord blood is a growing trend as the stem cells umbilical cord blood contains are proving to successfully treat a wide range of severe diseases and disorders and there is even more hope for future uses of these stem cells.

Many parents who have decided to bank their baby’s cord blood are faced with the tough decision of whether to store it publicly or privately. Public storage of your cord blood means you are donating it and anyone who needs it will have access to it. Private storage means you will pay to have your baby’s cord blood stored in the event your baby or another family member will need it in the future.

We at ThePregnancyNet have decided we want to help you as much as possible to make the right decision for you. For this reason we are going to look at the pros and cons of both private and public umbilical cord blood banking.

Making decisions for your baby's future is difficult.

Deciding whether to store or donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood is not easy.

Private Storage of Umbilical Cord Blood

Pros

  • You will have access to the cord blood cells whenever you need them, whether it’s for your baby or a family member.
  • If you are adopting or using a donor sperm or egg this will ensure your baby has a blood match if no one else in the family is a close enough match.
  • If you are part of a minority ethnic group or a family with a history of severe blood and cancer related illnesses you are more likely to need your baby’s cord blood, making it an important and necessary investment.
  • If there is a high chance your baby will be born with a developmental disorder, such as cerebral palsy, or will be premature, the stem cells in their umbilical cord blood could be the best help available.

Cons

  • You may never have a need for the cord blood, making it a wasted investment.
  • Approximately 70% of transplant patients don’t have a matching donor in their families, which means there is no guarantee you will be able to use your baby’s blood for a sick family member.
  • It is an added expense with a large down payment and annual storage fees which could be difficult to afford depending on your income.
  • A doctor may still reject your cord blood if he/she feels it is not up to standard. For this reason if you choose to privately bank your baby’s cord blood it is important you consider your storage facility options carefully.

Donating Umbilical Cord Blood

umbilical cord blood ha slife saving stem cells

Stored umbilical cord blood could save his life.

Pros

  • Your donation will make your baby’s cord blood accessible for families with no other option.
  • It won’t cost you a cent.
  • Umbilical cord blood is only one option out of many for a majority of the diseases and disorders umbilical cord is currently used to treat.
  • In the event you need cord blood to treat an illness, public stores will still be accessible to you.
  • If you are part of a minority ethnic group with known ailments, such as sickle cell disease, your baby’s umbilical cord blood is more likely to be a match for another person who desperately needs it at the time.
  • While only 25% of privately stored blood will be a sibling match, 95% of children will find a match at a public cord blood bank.
  • As long as it has not been used or discarded, your cord blood will be accessible to you if you need it.

Cons

  • 75% of cord blood is rejected, because there is not enough to treat a fully grown adult. However, some donations are still used in research.
  • There is no guarantee that in the event you need cord blood that you will have access to it as your’s or any other matches may have already been used or discarded.

It is important to not look at how many pros and cons each cord blood storage option has, but the value of these pros and cons to your own pregnancy and family medical history. Remember, no two pregnancies or two children are the same so the decision you make must be what you think is best. Most doctors currently favour the donation of cord blood, but don’t be afraid to seek out a second opinion as this is not a decision you should take lightly.

Whatever you decide will be the right decision!

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