When you hold your beautiful, healthy newborn for the first time, you probably are not thinking of any future health problems that this precious child may experience. Unfortunately, this is the time that you do need to think about it, because you need to have already made decisions regarding banking and storage.
Who Does Cord Blood Help?
Cord blood can be used to help your child, another child, or even another member of your family. If someone in your family needs an organ transplant, for example, they have a better chance of recovering from the procedure if they receive stem cells from a related donor. These stem cells come from cord blood.
Cord blood can additionally be used to help a stranger. Your child’s cord blood, or a portion of it, can be donated to a public bank. In this situation, when a patient needs stem cell transplants, if the blood is a match for numerous factors, your child’s donated cord blood could be used.
Do You Have a Choice Between a Private and Public Bank?
You actually do have the choice to donate to a public storage bank or to a private storage bank. The difference is that you will have to pay for the storage to a private bank, but there is no charge when storing to a public bank. You do not always have the option to store the blood in both a private and public bank.
Something else to consider is that based on your medical screening, you may be eligible for private storage, but not eligible for public banking of your child’s cord blood. Additionally, it is important to store each child’s cord blood – and not just one child’s cord blood. This is because even though two children may have the same parents, they may not have the same HLA Tissue Type, which makes a huge difference in whether cord blood can be used by a patient or not. You cannot assume that one child will be a match for all of your children.
Are You Eligible for Cord Blood Banking and Storage?
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for banking and storage. First, you must deliver at a hospital that participates in a cord blood donor program. Typically, you must make this decision many months before you deliver, and get signed up for that program, and then undergo medical screening tests to determine your eligibility.