Babies are amazing. They light up any room and completely turn our world upside down before even uttering a single word. They even have their own unique, intoxicating smell – not to be confused with the toxic smells they periodically produce.
While becoming a parent is perhaps the most satisfying journey imaginable, it is also one loaded with many important decisions to be made before your baby is even born: What doctor do I choose? What donor should I use? What car seat-diapers-wipes-bottle system do I commit to?
And thanks to the miracles of modern science… should I bank my baby’s cord blood? Let’s explore these questions in more depth.
Umbilical cord blood offers a perfectly natural, controversy-free source of stem cells, which are the “building blocks of life” that regenerate and form all other tissues, organs, and systems in the body. Until recently, umbilical cord blood and tissue were discarded as medical waste. Today, doctors around the globe recognize that cord blood stem cells can aid in treating numerous diseases by generating new, healthy cells and tissue.
There are plenty of articles out there listing the pros and cons of cord blood banking, and most come down to one simple question: Is it worth it? Let’s approach this question in two ways:
No one debates the current medical value or the extraordinary future potential of stem cell therapies. Cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These stem cells have two important features: they can renew themselves and create different types of specialized blood cells. Cord blood stem cells are being used to treat over 80 life-threatening diseases including cancers, blood disorders, and immune system deficiencies. Additionally, researchers are exploring the potential of HSCs in experimental therapies for autism, cerebral palsy and Type 1 diabetes. Researchers are also looking at the potential for using cord tissue stem cells to treat heart disease, spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s, and more.
The American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (14:316-322) estimates the probability at 1-in-217 that your child could benefit from stem cell therapy in their lifetime. And those odds can only increase over your child’s lifetime as more treatments are developed.
Ok, so we know stem cells offer the potential for invaluable medical treatments, so this process must break the bank, right? The answer may surprise you.
In general, costs range from bank to bank from about $1,800-$4,000 for the enrollment/collection kit/shipping/processing/initial storage period, plus about $150-$200 per year for future storage. Most banks typically offer some kind of online discount of a few hundred dollars. It’s certainly not inexpensive, but relative to the thousands you are likely about to spend on diapers, strollers, toys, and furniture, it’s a relatively small investment for something your child will have access to for the rest of his/her life.
Additionally, as a Donor Egg Bank-California Cryobank client, you receive significant discounts with our sister company, FamilyCord, one of the most respected cord blood banks in the industry. Through FamilyCord, you receive FREE processing plus your first year of storage. So, your initial cost is only $320 which covers your enrollment, collection kit, and shipping. Long term storage contracts are currently $150 per year.
We believe it is important for every child’s cord blood stem cells to be stored – but it can be especially valuable for donor-conceived children who only have access to half their genetic family should the need for a stem cell-based therapy ever arise.
For less than $1 per day, you can have the peace of mind in knowing that your child, and possibly other family members, will have access to these amazing stem cells if the need should ever arise. You can even add it to your baby registry and let your loved ones contribute to your family’s future health!
For more information on cord blood/tissue banking, please contact FamilyCord at 800-490-2673. Be sure to mention you are already one of the family!