Cord Blood Banking Pros & Cons

Donation of umbilical cord is now a days seen as one of the most promising strategies for the treatment of even difficult to treat diseases.

What is Umbilical cord?

Before going deeper into this discuss, first we will understand what is umbilical cord. Umbilical cord is basically a smooth, shiny, resistant and flexible cord that acts as a link between the fetus and the placenta. It consists of a gelatinous substance called Wharton’s gelatin inside which three vessels flow. Two of them are arteries whose function is to transport venous blood from the fetus to the placenta and a vein used to transport oxygenated blood to the fetus.

The blood contained in the placenta and umbilical cord is a precious material, rich in hematopoietic stem cells capable of giving rise to normal blood cells i.e red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets and therefore represents a valid alternative to bone marrow to perform the transplant of stem cells in both pediatric and adult patients.

At the end of the birth the umbilical cord blood is usually eliminated. On the contrary, it can be collected with a simple procedure that does not involve risks for the mother or the newborn. This sampling takes place in a few minutes and is completely painless and does not involve any change in normal birth assistance. After birth, when the umbilical cord has been severed, an experienced operator collects the blood left in the umbilical cord and the placenta in a special bag. The bag is immediately transported to the Cord Blood Bank to be manipulated and then stored in dedicated freezers.

Stem cell transplantation is the only chance of recovery for many patients with leukemia or other serious hematological diseases. Unfortunately, many of these patients do not have a compatible bone marrow donor either among their family members or in the International Bone Marrow Donor Registers. For these people, umbilical cord blood is the only hope for transplantation.

Cord Blood Banking

The hematopoietic stem cells that are taken from the cord are placed in special cryogenic containers in which the temperature is lower than -150 ° C. These containers are preserved by special institutes which are known as Biobanks or Cord Blood Banks. The conservation of hematopoietic stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood can last a very long time which can be over twenty years.

Cord blood banking Pricing

In most parts of the World there are two types of Cord Blood banks which collects and store the Cord Blood, which are Public Banks and Private Banks.

Public Cord blood Banking

Public Cord blood banks take care of conserving the blood collected during childbirth with the expenses handled the the government. The procedure is therefore free, whether the blood is destined to be used for any patient or for the newborn or a blood relative of the family that decides to keep it.

Private Cord blood Banking

Donors of Cord blood banks, who want the exclusive use of Cord blood, can deposit it to private banks. The private Cord blood banks offcourse charges some fees for the storing and maintenace of the blood. The fees can be between 1500 to 2000 dollars in addition to some fees for the m

Pros of Cord Blood Banking

Many Pros that are associated with Cord Blood Banking are:

1) The most important benefit of Cord Blood banking is the treatment of many difficult to treat diseases. These hematopoietic stem cells of the umbilical cord
are used to treat many diseaseas related to blood and immune systems such as leukemia, lymphomas, thalassemias, immunodeficiencies and some metabolic defects.

2) Many experients and researches are going on for Cord bloodstem cells which in future can be helpful for treating many other serious diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, retinitis pigmentosa, etc.

3) The collection of the umbilical cord is painless and is not at all invasive. The blood inside it is collected after cutting. The procedure is applied safely for both the newborn and the mother.

4) Treatments with stem cells taken from the umbilical cord not necessarily require full compatibility, so cells can also be used for the care of members of an entire family.

5) For about last 10 years, Cord Blood transplantation has been used as successful alternative to bone Marrow and it is turning out to be a good solution of rebuilding patient’s immune system.

Cons of Cord Blood Banking

1) The process of donating Cord blood to Public Cord blood banks is free, but there can be high cost associated with donating it to Private banks. In addition to the cost of collection, testing and registration, you may also have to pay the annual storing fees to the Cord blood banks. If the storing and maintenace fees is not paid to these banks, then they may throw away the Cord blood donated by You.

2) There are very less chances that the Children need their cord blood.

3) Cord blood is not the soultion of too many diseases. To date there are only few diseases which can be treated with the Stem cells of Cord blood.

4) The decision of donating Cord blood cann’t be made instantly at the time of birth. It should be well planned before the delivery.

5) Although Cord blood can be stored in the Cord blood banks for a long time about, 20 years, but still this is for limited means this blood can not be stored for life long.

The cord Blood Donation process

  • The placenta and umbilical cord from a healthy newborn baby contain cord blood which is filled with lif saving stem life.
  • Once the placenta is delivered and the umbilical cord is cut, it is passed to the cord blood bank staff waiting outside your delivery room.
  • The cord blood is then sent to a Blood services processig facility to test samples.
  • Donations that meet requirements are stored in the national public Cord Blood Bank.
  • When a patient needs a stem cell transplant, a simple blood transfusion is all it takes to change a life. Stem cell transplants can treat over 80 diseases and disorders including leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia.

Donations that do not meet requirements can be donated to research which might one day treat a variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.

Private vs Public Cord Banking

Private Public
you have exclusive rights to your stem cells Anyone can access your family’s stem cells after your donation has been made
A $90000 quality guarantee to ensure that your stem cells are safely stored Due to public funding, sometimes donated stem cells are discarded because the funds needed to process & store them aren’t available.
It’s free to retrieve your stem cells should you ever need them While free to donate, retrieving stem cells from a public bank can be pricey ( often around $30000)

List of USA Private and Public Cord Blood Banks