Q&A: banking cord blood

Angie writes:

"What's the deal with banking cord blood?? It seems like crazy money for something there's only a minute chance of ever needing. But then the brochures guilt you into it. Did you bank your kids' blood? What did your readers do?"

I did not bank either of my sons' cord blood. It seemed like too great an expense to me for something that had such a small chance of being needed. But that was just for us. If you have risk factors that make cord blood banking make sense for you, it might be worth looking into. With absolutely no family history of childhood diseases or any of the other things cord blood is used for, it just didn't make sense for us.

One thing that may have made more sense but wasn't possible for us* was cord blood donation. with donation, your child's cord blood is drawn and then sent to a bank where anyone who is a match and needs cord blood can receive it. It's a way of using the cord blood for good even if you personally don't need it. If our situation had been different I'd have strongly considered it.

Did anyone do cord blood banking? If so, why? If not, why not? What about cord blood donation?

* Things were too rushed in the hospital with the birth of my first son so cord blood was not on anyone's mind,and I had my second son in my bathroom as a planned homebirth so there was no way to collect the cord blood.

79 thoughts on “Q&A: banking cord blood”

  1. I had also read that the cord blood is useless for the child that it comes from, it’s only possibly useful for siblings. Our son will be an only child, so donation seemed the most useful thing to do. But unfortunately it wasn’t available at our hospital (or any within about an hour or more drive). The private banking ppl will come to pretty much anywhere here (Australia) to collect for you cos they are charging you an arm and a leg. The donation is only set up in a few large big-city hospitals.

  2. We banked our first son’s cord blood and donated (at least I asked for it to be) our second son’s. Before the birth of the first, I asked my eldest sister, who is a hematologist, and while she didn’t rave about it she felt there is great promise with cord blood…something about more naive cells than stem cells – blah blah blah science stuff blah blah.So that’s why we did it. I must be a little superstitious (sp?) because I figured if we did it, we’d never need it. Like carrying an umbrella will ensure a sunny day.
    2 cents: if you don’t feel strongly about the whole thing, at least donate the cord blood. It might do some good for someone and it doesn’t cost you anything.

  3. We donated. Some NYC/NJ hospitals have their own banking program, but I delivered at a pretty small hospital and used Cryo-Banks International (you can donate or bank your own with them).I discussed with my OB, who agreed with my general assessment that ViaCord, CBR, etc. basically prey on the worst fears of parents but that the technology is really not in place yet for the overwhelming majority of conditions cord blood is purported to treat. IMO the marketing techniques are really disgusting–I don’t know if they do this any more, but 5 years ago ViaCord (in particular–probably others did as well) were offering big discounts to people who recruited their friends, and what amounted to kickbacks to my OB (who made a point of recommending another bank if you were going to save your child’s cord blood).
    Donation felt right to us, as it could be used for people who really need it, as they needed it, instead of hanging around for “maybe” and “who knows how these cells might look in 20-30-40 years when they’re defrosted,” etc.
    I’m not saying it’s wholly not worthwhile, depending on what conditions might run in your family, but for us the money seemed better spent on actual life insurance and things like that.
    PS In an emergency situation, or if it is a multiple pregnancy, often cord blood cannot be collected (at least for donation). And it needs a little advanced planning–I know for Cryo-Banks I had to have the paperwork in by the time I was…34 weeks? Or so?

  4. I was going to donate my daughter’s cord blood but they only took donations during the week and she was born on a Saturday. Wasn’t possible with my son, a homebirth.I asked my midwife about cord blood with my daughter and her take was that while donating is great, banking is a waste of money because there is no regulation to guarantee the blood is kept in usable condition (i.e. well-cared for) and in many of the situations where you might want cord blood, your own blood is actually not a good choice. I have no idea if any of that is scientifically valid, but I don’t worry about it.

  5. We donated our cord blood. From my understanding of the information, it’s not definite that you would be able to use your own cord blood anyway to treat future problems anyway. We thought that if we wanted the best chance for our son should he ever need such a thing then we’d hope that there was material that we could access thourgh a public bank that might be compatible. Given that thinking, we needed to contribute to what was available for whoever might need it. Luckily, this was an option at the hospital we went to (Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney, Australia) but I know it’s not available everywhere.

  6. My midwives have told me in no uncertain terms that banking cord blood for one’s own future use is useless – as in, there’s no research to demonstrate its definite worth yet, and it’s for profit, and a guilt trip. They may even (I forget) have gone so far as to say that there was no research to show that the blood is still useful for as long as they store it.Donating, OTOH, seems like a very good idea, and we would have done it, except my second was born on a Saturday night at the hospital was starting up their cord blood donation program the following Monday!

  7. We didn’t — seemed like a big ol’ scam to us.Instead, we put that money towards a 529 plan, and look how well that turned out!

  8. I would have happily donated my sons’s cord blood, but the program had recently been postponed at the hospital I gave birth in and when my daughter was born 2 years later, the program still hadn’t resumed.Only public donation is possible here in Italy and is covered enitirely by the Italian heath system. Private, on the other hand, is available abroad at a staggering cost (between €1000 and €2000 initially, plus €100 per year of storage). How does that compare to the States and Aus?

  9. I don’t think donation was available at our hospital, for some reason. Our OB told us not to bother banking if we were pretty sure we were going to have two kids. If there was something wrong with Sam the logic was that his cord blood wouldn’t help him and we’d be able to rely on sibling donation and vice versa. Financially it really wasn’t an option for us either.

  10. Allowing the cord blood to drain back into the child before cutting the cord seemed a good use of it, so we did that. Now, two years out, I could not remember all the reasons why we did it, but here’s a link that goes into some of them:http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/cordIssues.html#Delayed
    Some risks, but we thought it was worth it. We did not delay but maybe a few minutes. Not two hours or anything. The doc was very nervous about it, too. It was an on-call OB and we’d never met her before, so if it had been our regular one, we hope it might have gone more smoothly.

  11. We did the Viacord thing, but only for my third child, not with the first two. I have heard the same things as Tor (that it’s more likely to be used for a sibling) My new next door neighbor is one of the best researchers in the country (in his field) with an expertise on blood disorders. I can’t remember exactly what he said b/c it was all lab talk, but he convinced us that the technology is up and coming in the next couple of decades. Soooo…. we took a shot and did it under their payment plan. Definitely expensive, but since it was something that could potentially help all of our children and not just one (and perhaps cousins too…) we went for it. Although it also might be the worst money we ever spent. I hope we never want to use it.

  12. We didn’t store it – the fees were too high to even really consider it. And I just wasn’t convinced it would help in the right way, god forbid. (my dad is a frequent blood donor and has even donated bone marrow to strangers and he was curious if this would be the next really good thing to do. But not enough to pay for it :)I did look into donation and there were no hospitals in our area that could collect. That bummed me out.

  13. We donated with our first child (I think – I know we filled out the paperwork but whether or not they actually collected the cord blood I can’t remember!) I’m pretty sure we didn’t with our second, who was born really speedily, before I was able to fill out any paperwork at all.The banks are expensive – maybe $500 (US)?

  14. We went the Viacord route with our first son – his cord was harvested and banked for use for me…I have a rare blood disorder in which the only cure is a bone marrow transplant and my siblings are not donor matches.When my health finally fails (eventually it will), I have these cells to fall back on. It makes my son (conceived after years of infertility) even that much more of a miracle.
    I am actually fond of Viacord – they accepted our case probono and we haven’t paid a dime. They’ve been nothing but helpful and gracious.
    Of course this route isn’t for everyone, but there was a time too that I believed my own robust health had little chance to fail, and it did. After my experience I just can’t imagine passing up an opportunity for future protection for my kids… it’s hard for me to see it otherwise.

  15. I remember discussing this with my midwife when I was pregnant with my first (mid-2006). At the time cord blood could only be donated or banked if the birth was in a hospital. And for banking the blood, the only bank was in Alberta (I’m in Ontario) and the fee was really high, like $500 for collection plus an annual fee for preserving it ($150/year comes to mind). Because I was planning a homebirth I didn’t really consider donation or banking (besides I thought the money was better spent elsewhere).I had a brief discussion about this topic with my new midwife just before Christmas. Basically things haven’t changed, except the banking fees have increased (of course, a captive audience!). Her opinion is that cord blood is like regular blood in that it’s very useful and potentially life-saving, but that the infrastructure isn’t quite there yet (like it is with regular blood).

  16. I think it’s basically a crock. With all of the affluent parents who have done, not one has ever used it to treat their own child. I think there have been maybe two cases of it being used to treat relatives.Also, with my daughter there was no way in the world we could afford it (aren’t there yearly fees?). Plus, we had her cord blood tested for cystic fibrosis, so there was nothing to bank. My son was born at home, so his cord blood all went into him. Public donation seems like a good way to go, but I’m selfish enough that even given the oppurtunity, we would probably just have the cord blood flow into the baby. We’d totally donate the placenta though.

  17. I actually did a story on this for our local parenting magazine awhile back, and it is a crock playing on the worst fears of parents. Not one doctor I interviewed said it was worth the money, and interestingly, whichever banking company I tried to interview never returned my repeated calls. Except in the case of the PP who herself could use the blood soon, there’s just no reason to do it. Yet another thing that big corporations try to sell us as necessary that is not.(can you tell I have opinions on this? Well I do :-))

  18. I donated our cord blood. Aside from filling out a bunch of forms while pregnant and remembering to bring the info packet to the hospital, it’s no big deal. And it made me feel good, too.

  19. We donated the cord blood from both our sons through the hospital’s program. I have no idea what happened to it post-donation, but it was free & made me feel good.I have one friend who banked the cord blood from 2 of her 3 kids (it wasn’t available when her first was born). She (my friend) was adopted as an infant in a closed adoption and has very little (almost none) information about her birth parents, let alone their health histories or extended families. Since half of her kids’ genetic extended family is not available, she thought it was a good idea for their future in case of any health issues.

  20. I understand the skepticism given the tenor of the advertising (just the fact that it’s a for-profit venture for Viacord et al. makes me suspicious); I was surprised when my dad, a research scientist – also a serious skeptic with a low threshold for bs who brags about never buying a collar shirt for more than US$10 – told me it was worth considering. I tried to find a public bank, because it really is over the top, the $, but there wasn’t one near enough to where we live. I do regret not banking my son’s cord blood.

  21. My midwife felt so strongly that it was all crock that she refused to even accept the paperwork to donate the cord blood! It was surprisingly difficult to figure out how to donate in my area, so without her help, I just dropped the issue…

  22. We fully intended to donate DS’s cord blood and had contacted LifeSource, the crappy organization in Chicago that handles cord blood donations… Despite following up with them multiple (!!) times well in advance of his birth, they never sent us the information & packet! Unfortunately, Prentice’s policy then and perhaps even still today is not to provide patients with any of the supplies for cord blood donation. So it went to waste. I concluded there must not be a real need… though I have heard that there actually is a need for donations from people of color.I agree ViaCord engages in fear-mongering and their service is a waste of money for 99% of us, except those with some family history, or other compelling reason like adoption.

  23. My husband and I have no significant family history (although his family does have a history of relatively early stroke) to worry about, but we did decide to bank our baby girl’s cord blood.My background is in immunology (I have a PhD in it and friends who work in stem cell biology), and I felt that even though there is low liklihood that she would need it now, and that the uses are limited right now, that the potential for future developments in stem cell research made it worth putting some of her cord blood into storage for her — like a future insurance policy. I mean, heck, we spend over $1000 a year to insure one of our cars (we live in Chicago).
    That said, my husband did do a lot of research about cord blood storage. The big national banks can be more expensive but there are other groups that are more affordable (though still not cheap). We ended up with MAZE in NY.
    I’m happy we did it, I have hope for future developments in stem cell research, but, of course, I hope that my daughter will never need it!

  24. I had a similar experience to hush. I really really wanted to donate my daughter’s cord blood, but could not get anyone to return any of my phone calls or e-mails. Most programs for donations in my area are focused on ethnic minorities, and since we are Caucasian I couldn’t find anyone who wanted it. It made me really sad and mad.

  25. we did donation – took a while to find a way to donate in our area.Here’s what we finally found. it’s through a for-profit outfit, but they’ve partnered w/the gov’t to handle donations:
    http://www.cryo-intl.com/
    note that they also do for-profit private banking – the site has info on both, and it may take a little time to get to the nonprofit stuff.
    and also an article on donation:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/06/20/MNG9GDBBLS1.DTL
    The signup process has to be completed by the 35th week of pregnancy, so it’s good to get going on it by week 30 or so if possible.
    Also, the instructions for our donation provider said you need to call within 2 hours of the birth to arrange for pickup. That was unnecessary – no one picked it up for half a day – so anytime that first half-day is probably fine…

  26. I’d recommend reading a recent article called “Collection and Preservation of Cord Blood for Personal Use” by Ballen et al., (Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 2008 14:356-363). The last page of this article is an excellent fact sheet for patients.This issue came up in one of my prenatal classes. The instructor said that a lot of physicians bank their own babies’ cord blood, therefore it must be a good idea. It was hard for me to keep a straight face – MDs have a lot of disposable income, and most MDs aren’t well educated in basic science research.
    If there is someone in your family with an existing condition that is treatable with cord blood, then YES, banking is a great idea. Otherwise, it seems like a waste of money, for many reasons already described above. Society as a whole would be better off if everyone donated their cord blood, so that when the rare occasion arises that you actually need it, there is a diverse selection of donated, banked bloods available for your use.
    I donated my daughter’s blood, and the blood center told me that there is only a 25% chance that a specimen is suitable for banking, but even suboptimal donated specimens are used for some sort of research, such as testing new storage methods or investigating ways to make suboptimal blood useable. I figured, if I donated, there was a 100% chance that the blood would be used to advance knowledge, even in a tiny way.
    As an aside, I work in multimillion dollar government-funded research involving biospecimen banking, and you would shudder if I told you the number of times freezers fail and specimens are lost.

  27. My midwives gave me the option of donating or banking. Apparently, there’s a kit that they use and then can call someone to pick it up within 24 hours to bank it. We didn’t take them up on it, but apparently it’s an option even for homebirth now (at least where I live in AZ).

  28. First, we explored banking. Our doctor thought it was pointless, but we called and got the packet and read about it in medical journals.What turned me off was that ViaCord called us repeatedly. At 8am on a Saturday, once. It was like a pushy telemarketing scheme and after the 8th call I told the man that the way they kept calling us creeped me out and convinced me that it was a scam.
    My spouse is a graduate of Caltech and many of our friends are doctors, chemists, physicists and other science types. Because of our social circle, I’m very suspicious of “science” as “commerce.”
    So then we explored donation, because a friend in our state has a severely disabled child and there was some hope that she could benefit. But it was all too soon and our friend couldn’t quite get the whole thing organized. And in the end the birth was pretty bad, so I don’t know if we’d have even paid enough attention to be sure it happened. Our minds were on many other things.
    I have no doubt that cord blood is useful and will be more useful in the future. I just think that people who want to aid that work can do so by donating it now, and enjoying the benefits of research later.

  29. I too was feeling guilted into banking cord blood, but I talked with my midwives and read some stuff by the American Academy of Pediatrics and became convinced that: 1) the health promises are pretty much bunk for the child whose cord is banked (their genetic woes will be in the cord blood and it will therefore be useless). The AAP has a FAQ section on cord banking and they recommend public cord donation, not private banking. The link is here: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jan07cordbloodfaq.htm; 2) private forms of medical banking such as this are bad public policy that further create divides between the medical haves and have-nots, so we should donate our cord blood instead to public banks that make cord blood available to all those who need it regardless of their ability to pay. In the end, that’s the best public policy.

  30. Once we found out it was possible and recommended to donate, we did. DH has a heart transplant, so we feel pretty strongly about things like filling out the organ donation box on your drivers’ license, and this seemed to be a natural extension of that. Even better, you don’t have to die to donate. And on top, it doesn’t hurt. The other bonus is that even if it can’t be used for someone else, it can be used for research.We were given a kit at my ob/gyn on our first appointment explaining cord blood donation and the procedure here in Quebec. It was pretty easy (we had a hospital birth), but you did have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire (similar to donating regular blood) by a certain week in your pregnancy.
    Reading the literature both in the kit and from other various sources, we didn’t even really consider banking our own for the same reasons others list here. Our concerns (healthwise) were more with DS’ heart considering his papa’s condition (and woo hoo! 6 month heart ultrasound was all clear).
    So, they did take the cord blood as my labour was pretty routine (if not fast). A couple months later, we got a letter from Hema Quebec (who banks the blood), thanking DS for his donation, but stating that unfortunately, they didn’t get enough cord blood (I think that was the reason), to put in the bank, but they would be using it for research purposes.
    Anyhow, we were glad we did it, and I would do it again.

  31. My hematologist and perinatologist told me that it’s really unlikely that it could be used for your own child – just for siblings… and that the public donation bank at least here in Seattle is “semi-anonymous” in that they do record where it came from along with the questionnaire on health history and all. And I think they follow up with you if they find a need for teh blood you donated so they can make sure the child it came from didn’t develop any health problems before passing it on to someone else. So in that case, if YOU did need it, they could look and see if your child’s blood was still there as a good possible match.So I chose donation. And then was rejected because I have an autoimmune disease. Which is stupid that it would be rejected for that. All of my docs thought it was ridiculous. But I guess they’re jsut uber-careful, and you can’t fault them for that.

  32. My in-laws basically forced us to bank. Clearly not standing in the delivery room with a gun to our heads or anything, but they paid the collection fee and first years’ storage. I would like to find out whether banked cord blood can be transferred to a public bank as a donation several years after birth…but I have no idea how I’m going to convince my husband to go along with this plan (for fear of insulting/upsetting his parents).Though on a positive note – both of my parents died young of cancer, so there may be SOME in-family need for the cord blood, one day.

  33. I donated my cord blood after my second child was born. I had to request a kit ahead of time(it took about 3 weeks to arrive), informed my midwife and handed over the kit when we arrived at the hospital. I also had to fill out quite a few forms ahead of time, but all in all, it required about 30 minutes of work on my part and was very easy. It did seem to require some work on the part of the nurses and my midwife at the hospital, but they seemed happy to do it. I had no reason to bank it and didn’t want to spend the money, but I’m glad I donated. FYI–I live in Chicago.

  34. My comment got caught in the spam filter because of all the research links…Pick either donation or delayed clamping, as suits your personal family/medical history. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of benefit to the personal banking, but there are some rising uses of donated cord blood (like childhood leukemia, where you don’t have to have as good a match to use it compared to donor marrow, so it reduces wait times for treatment); at the same time, there’s a lot of good reasons to delay cord clamping until the cord stops pulsing (which makes it hard to do the donation, since there’s no blood left in the cord at that point) – lower rates of anemia/higher iron stores in baby, higher melatonin level in baby (better sleep, maybe???), plus some other benefits – with the only risk being slightly higher risk of jaundice, but if the baby’s resting on mom’s belly instead of below the placenta, that’s probably not as big an issue.
    Anyway, good options either way – if you’re going to have quick cord clamping for any reason, you might as well donate the cord blood. If you don’t feel a strong need to donate the cord blood, you might as well delay cord clamping. The only scenario that isn’t really supported by my research into the research is early clamping with no donation. Though there are situations (like emergencies, or like with the twins birth) where that isn’t possible, either.
    Do what feels right?

  35. Had my dd been a vaginal birth, we would have had delayed clamping, so no collecting of anything. I am not about to pay thousands of dollars to store her blood. I was not aware that you could donate cord blood, or that would have been a good option for us w/ her scheduled c-section. Well, at least I know for next time, if I ever have a repeat c/s 🙂

  36. We donated to a bank. I went through Lifesource and it was really no big deal, although there was a ton of paperwork. I do remember reading that they only accept for donation a small percentage of the blood they collect, and that everything else might be used for research.Even now, I do have some mixed feelings about it. I think in the present there was absolutely no need for it, but I do wonder what the future might hold.
    Strangely enough, a few months after my daughter was born, my husband (a health care writer) was assigned the topic of cord blood banking. One of the experts he spoke with raised the whole ethics of banking–say a family member becomes ill and could benefit from blood you banked for your child. Do you give it to the family member or do you keep it for your child’s own use? If most people bank betting on some huge medical breakthroughs with cord blood in the future, it’s really not an academic question about who gets the benefit from the blood and who it really belongs to.
    Anyhow, this post on Ask Metafilter from a pediatric hematologist helped guide my thinking on donation: http://ask.metafilter.com/15638/Whats-the-deal-with-cord-blood-and-farming-your-own-stem-cells#268008
    Off topic: How many Chicago Moxites are there? Has anyone planned a meet-up?

  37. kate- i’ll bet we did the nyc/nj bank! so interesting- during labor with the bean when the girl came around to ask if we’d donate, said if we ever needed it we could have it back if it was still around, if not, whatever. i said, sure! that would be great! enjoy it! i know i filled out paperwork but i’ll be damned if i know where the heck it is…you know what’s interesting, i asked that they delay clamping but i don’t think they did at the time- everything happened so fast at the end and then poor bean was whisked off to the nicu…i wonder if they never collected the cord blood? hmm.

  38. We’re planning on banking our son’s cord blood for the possibilities of it helping my father, who has early stage Parkinson’s disease. The research and technology are quickly catching up. Since Parkinson’s disease runs in both sides of our family (mine and my husband’s) it is worth it to us, even if the cord blood cells can’t be used for my dad.

  39. we donated for 2 out of 3 kids. the first i just didnt get around to calling for the kit (lifesource, another chi-town mama here)it did take what seemed like a LONG time to get the kit this most recent time (sept 08).
    and i almost forgot to give the packet to my nurse till literally moments before aaron was born- as they were breaking down the bed i suddenly yelled out “i have a donation kit!” and they were able to get everything set. the had to draw more blood from me after aaron was born (he was born probably ten minutes after they got the kit out) but that wasnt a big deal.
    my ob did say some of the l+d nurses arent thrilled with the extra work they have to do with the donation kits, but oh well.
    this was evanston hospital, for reference.
    it does seem like there are alot of chicago moms on here!

  40. Yes, there are a lot of Chicago Moms — @obabe I had my son at Evanston Hospital too & we did the donation. I don’t remember any fuss about it, at least not in front of me!

  41. I used to live in Chicago when DS was born. Now we live far, far away. ;( Being the 3rd largest city in the US, I bet there are a ton of Moxites there. Miss y’all…

  42. I had it shoved down my throat with guilt trips at my last obs office…now I learned that it can not be used for the Father at all, and can only be used once. This is if the actual issue has been addressed for the stem cells and so far so few have been helped because this country hasnt done the research yet. Its a scam now; maybe later on it will be more useful. I dont have 1 grand a year to put towards storage fees. I will donate it to someone who really needs it.

  43. We tried to donate my daughter’s cord blood (after we decided it didn’t seem worth it to bank it for our family with the research not really there and no family history of childhood disease) and we were turned away because we are Caucasian and we were told they had already filled their quota for Caucasian donors for the year (this was in April!). They said they often fill their Caucasian quota by February! (This is in California.)I think we will pass it up again with this pregnancy. Just doesn’t seem worth it.

  44. @Jenna: oh, that’s very interesting, re: being turned away. i’m planning to ask about donating at my next appointment in a few weeks. so we’ll see what they have to say. my doctor/midwife is at UCSF, and i’m due june 1st.

  45. My dad had leukemia (CML). Seven of his first cousins also has various diseases of the blood. Because of this, we banked our son’s cord blood through CBR in 2001. We donated our other two kids cord blood in 2003 and 2007. It’s just an extra form of insurance for my family. To dismiss the whole notion of cord blood banking as a scam is insulting to those of us who have opted to do it.

  46. We did bank blood for our second kid. But we just had a friend diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer–cancer of the blood plasma (myeloma?)–and she is going to do some sort of treatment using those cells from her daughter’s cord blood. I don’t know if it is experimental or not and have no idea if it will save her life or not but I’m sure she was quite thankful she did it.

  47. Ditto what most everyone else said, re: feeling skeeved by the whole for-profit thing (with certain exceptions, like those of the PPs).One comment: I didn’t think delayed clamping and donation/banking were mutually exclusive. There might not be as much to harvest but i was under the impression there would still be some to eke out. (Hope i didn’t get too technical there.)
    I had hoped to donate with my first but it wasn’t an option. Both my OB and i were annoyed by this – what a waste! I am a long-time (bordering on obsessive) blood donor so it really bugged me.
    With my second pregnancy, donation was an option and i was so excited! I had the forms filled out and signed by my midwives and sent in…only to have the bank call me to say i had filled out the old form (which had been updated in the 14 seconds between when i printed it out and mailed it in) and, since i was at 38-ish weeks when they noticed this, there wasn’t enough time to re-do it, so thanks anyway.
    (Yes, my head did explode.)
    Turns out, i had an, um, unintentional home birth so it was all moot in the end. If we decide to have a third, i swear i’m sending in the paperwork before the pee on the stick is even dry.

  48. We wanted to donate it (I figured it wouldn’t be difficult and why not, in case it helps someone someday), but there had been some procedural change and the birth center where I delivered my younger daughter wasn’t a “certified” collection center for the donation bank I found (cryo something?). At any rate, we weren’t able to donate.For what it’s worth, my midwife also felt that the for-profit banks were preying on parents’ fears and did not recommend private banking.

  49. We have banked both boys’ cord blood. At the time the first one was born, his godmother was in remission from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which eventually killed her before the second boy came along. They were hoping to cure her with a stem cell infusion but couldn’t get her well enough to do it by the time they had a marrow donor who was a close enough match. We of course had my son’s tested to see if he was a match but he was not.We know the chances are very, very slim that they ever would need or could even use their cord blood. But having someone with an illness that could be cured by stem cells when we were making the decision (and having two incomes and the means to do it at the time) made it a no-brainer for us. Like the old saying–better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
    For the record, it was easy to do, and even though neither of my births were on business hours, the couriers were there very promptly to pick up the packages and get them on their way.
    And PS to Jax–depends on the disease, whether they can be used for dads. Our “bank” recently sent an update on a dad cured by the banked cord blood. It’s certainly not the typical story but there was at least one.

  50. @melissa, it is the marketing that is scam-like. It does NOT take into account individual/family medical history, at least not the version I’ve seen. It treats everyone as if they are in your shoes – with a known, serious, and relevant history. In your case, ABSOLUTELY, it would be kind of nuts to NOT bank. But for the average person, donating so that people like those in your family get another better chance (rather than banking for self/child) is really the best option. You’re buying insurance, essentially – and in your case, the odds are significant. In my case, not so much.And DO ask if the delayed clamping matters – I was told that it did make a difference, at least for the donations (like blood donation, they want a minimum quantity). But they also may have solved that problem between then and now! It would be great if you could do BOTH.

  51. I desperately wanted to donate my childrens cord blood as I work in Haematology and know how wonderful cord blood is but my first child was born on a Friday and the program was M-T and my second was born at 6am (on a Thurs) but the cord blood nurses are only available 9am-5pm! Sadly it wasn’t meant to be.

  52. The Catholic hospital I delivered in won’t participate in the donataion scheme (in Australia in 2006). I think this sounds silly because as I understand it (and I haven’t really looked into it!) other ways of getting stem cells are, ahhh, problematic for the Catholic church, but I can’t see how cord blood would be (caveat: I’m not Catholic, or even Christian).

  53. Not to hijack, but:Keri,
    Another Chicago mama here! Delivered DS1 at the old Prentice and DS2 at the new Prentice.
    If anyone wants to meet up someday (maybe when it finally friggin’ thaws out), let’s chat.

  54. I thought it was a bit of a scam but mostly didn’t do the banking because, like others, ours will be an only child so it wasn’t useful.I very much wanted to donate and got through the entire application with Cryobank Intl or whoever only to find out that they wouldn’t accept me because we used donor sperm, even though we certainly had as much info about the family health background as we would have about my husband and even though they can test the blood themselves. PISSED me off.

  55. I tried to donate my second child’s cord blood, but found out that I would still have to pay my OB/GYN a $300 fee (NY city hospital) for the cord blood collection. And the cord blood bank wouldn’t reimburse us. It really annoyed me but I wasn’t going to pay $300 to donate it, so we didn’t. If you want to pursue donation make sure you check with your MD to see if they have a separate fee.

  56. Hey Ladre and all other Chicago area parents,How about folks e-mail me at sully6 at gmail dot com to get the conversation going?
    I’d love to be part of a group of Chicago Moxites.

  57. We couldn’t afford the banking, and ultimately came to the conclusion that many other did, that it wasn’t worth it because it couldn’t really be used on him anyway. I opted to donate it, but it turned out there wasn’t even enough for a donation. It made me wonder if I had been paying for banking if they would have told me that there wasn’t enough or if they would have kept my money and stored the scant useless amount they collected.

  58. #1–Did nothing with it. Was pre-donation days and OB said banking was too new to know what we could really do with it.#2–Banked it. Pay a yearly fee of $95. Nice to know it’s there just in case. No risk factors… just peace of mind.
    #3–Donated it. Decided that chances were so slim of ever needing. Will regret it if he does end up needing it.

  59. I wanted very much to donate my kids’ cord blood but found out in researching the process that I would not be able to because I had cancer (melanoma) a few years earlier. There was a whole list of health conditions that precluded you from donating, at least through the agency closest to me, so I just stopped there and did not pursue it.

  60. We decided on delayed clamping both times – interestingly enough, we were even given information on banking cord blood when we were in Japan. So it’s not just an American thing, as so many of these things seem to be. The second was at home, and we really just didn’t even consider it.

  61. Donated it last time.This time will delay clamping (anemia from hyperemesis, figure more iron for baby is a good thing).
    Re donating for research vs a bank: I understand if it’s complicated/pricy/not possible, but for those hesitating because it doesn’t seem as useful as donating to a real person–as the daughter of a biostat professor–donating for research is *still* adding something positive to the world!!!

  62. The real problem is that there are no regulations for how it is stored. Which means that in the off chance that you ever actually do need it, it is highly unlikely that any hematologist/oncologist will accept it as a specimen. They rather have cord blood that has been donated.So I’m bummed I wasted the ViaCord money.

  63. Thanks memegrl..had no clue as I live in Florida and no one even seems interested in even bringing it up with this pregnancy. That really gets my goat about being caucasian….I would be donating cord blood with zero problems from two healthy white parents, and there are more caucasians in this country than minorities, you would think the need would be greater. Whatever; they can keep it. My last OB made me feel so bad about not banking, that it turned me OFF, because he did say the dad cant be helped with it. if anyone would be using it, it would be Dad, he’s a smoker and overweight ;OP but they also made me TRY and feel bad saying that if my daughter got sick, I’d have that on my mind if I didnt help her. WTF? Yet another insensitive OB to the rescue….sigh.

  64. Some research that I read at the time stated something along the lines of (some really high percentage) 85-95 percent of banked cord blood that was used for treatment was for families with genetic blood disorders. If you know going in that you fall into that category then it’s a valuable safeguard, if not its wasted money. Someday science may catch up and make it more useful but surely by then it will be so commonplace that it won’t cost an arm and a leg.The guilt trip aspect of the company marketing was ridiculous. The hormones make you so vulnerable to those cute baby faces on the brochure and you seem to get a zillion of them at every turn.

  65. I know there have been a million answers to this and I am late to this table but I just wanted to say that I wish I had saved the cord blood for my son.I know CBR and ViaCord turned it into a big business for themselves but that doesn’t mean its not worth doing. We donated which I at least felt strongly about. But I wish I had that blood in my back pocket not because I fear him getting a dread disease but because they are coming up with new tech and new uses for it everyday. So yes, right now, there isn’t a certainty that there will be uses for cord blood, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be next year or the next. So if you’ve got the means, go for it. ESPECIALLY if you have any blood disorders in your family.

  66. We are grad students living in a midwestern university town. No one we know could afford cord banking, plus I don’t even think it is an option here (not very “Midwestern,” after all). Instead, at about 7 months pregnant I signed up to donate the cord blood to a research program at the local university that our OB was affiliated with. I had a hellish labor and an emergency C-section, and I never even bothered to ask/find out what happened with the cord and blood. I hope it was collected and donated to the U, but honestly, I have no idea if that worked out after all.Donating clearly seems like the best option all around, but I understand why there might be financial barriers to making it widely available.

  67. Well, in my case, the worst did happen. I had an egregiously inept midwife consequently, a botched home birth. My son nearly died. He now has Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Quadriplegia. Wish I hadn’t been so cynical about the “Fear-Mongering/For Profit Scheme/Too Expensive” cord blood banking. My little one could have really used it.

  68. I tried to leave a comment last week about this, but it’s missing. Are comments closed on this thread?I only wanted to say that genetic predispositions to certain conditions are not the only good reason to bank cord blood. Cerebral Palsy and other brain/spinal cord injuries are now being treated with stem cells with good success. We had a very negligent midwife (who has a Master’s degree in Certified Nurse Midwifery from SUNY Stony Brook) who did not diagnose preeclampsia although I had several of the symptoms. Consequently, I had an abnormal labor, my placenta abrupted at the birth, my son was not breathing and the midwife’s oxygen tank was not in working order. She failed to test the tank before the birth. She didn’t have adequate CPR skills. There was a significant delay in gettin oxygen to my son. He now has Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Quadriplegia as a result of her negligence. He would have benefitted from stem cell therapy from his own cord blood. But I cynically thought it was a “scam” and the negative outcome would never happen to me.

  69. Yes, veins can be hard to get into, they can wiggle or move away from a nelede once it is introduced, thus the probing to catch it. You may have a small bruise or tenderness but other wise, your vein will recover quickly. This experience will not hinder you from donating blood in the future. Donating blood is one of the single most important things a person can do to help others. You don’t realize it, but you are saving a life every time you donate.

  70. Cord blood is the blood that’s in the umbilical cord (and ptecanla) and contains stem cells (blood stem cells mostly, but it has other types as well).It’s unclear if the stem cells in cord blood are as multipotent as embryonic stem cells (i.e. if cord blood stem cells can differentiate into as many distinct cell-types as ESCs), but the major advantage is that with cord-blood-derived stem cells, there’s a possibility for autologous transplantation, which eliminates the possibility of transplant rejection and graft-vs-host disease. Another possible advantage is the moral/ethical one that a fertilized embryo isn’t destroyed to get them.Another advantage for non-autologous transplantation is that, while blood stem cells are generally easy to collect, other types aren’t so cord blood may be a way to increase the number of potential donors so there’s a greater probability that a person who needs a stem cell transplant will be able to find an appropriately matched donor.There’s little to no harm in banking cord blood (see the links below for information about how it’s collected). The biggest reason, as far as I know, that it’s not always banked is because of the cost involved (I remember reading somewhere that it cost about $8000 to $10000).There’s more information here:

  71. Umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the pltnacea and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood is obtained from the umbilical cord at the time of childbirth, after the cord has been detached from the newborn.[1] Cord blood is collected because it contains stem cells, including hematopoietic cells, which can be used to treat hematopoietic and genetic disorders.[2] Some pltnaceal blood may be returned to the neonatal circulation if the umbilical cord is not prematurely clamped.[3] In some obstetric and midwifery practices, physiological extended-delayed cord clamping protocol, as well as water birth, allows for the cord blood to pulse into the neonate for 2–20 minutes after delivery.[4] If the umbilical cord is not clamped, a physiological clamping occurs upon interaction with cold air, when the internal gelatinous substance, called Wharton’s jelly, swells around the umbilical artery and veins.

  72. Thanks Becky, we’re still hanging in there.Maryann, I was sure he was going to come early, but it looks like he’s hoildng out till the end.gee, thanks for the good wishes.Delina, we’re now down to 7 days and counting. Stacy, the time has flown by for me too. It seems like just yesterday I was sneaking around to the pharmacy to get a pregnancy test.

  73. Stem cell banking and reaserch company Life Cell Chennai is not yet ready to supply stem cells for therapy of all diseases. Initially they plan to treat only blood disorders.The stem cells to treat spinal injures are not available in IndiaOwn bone marrow cells are better and only option today and that too on experimental basis . Umbilical cord stem cells can be potential carriers of genetic disorders if the foetus receiving the umbilical blood is prone to genetic diseases at later life and if the parents of the foetus are victims of any genetic diseases.

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