Disadvantages of Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking is a hot topic in pregnancy circles today.  There are many private cord blood banks and
many advertisements in pregnancy magazines about the benefits of cord blood
banking.  But, with all of this hype, is
there really a benefit to banking a newborn’s cord blood?

While the technology and potential of cord blood banking are very
exciting, the facts do not, at the moment, point to overwhelming benefits.  Here’s why:

Cord Blood Banking Statistics

At the moment, the American Academy of Pediatrics
says that the chance of a baby needing its own stored cells is approximately
1:1000 to 1:200,000.  They also state
that there is, at this time, no hard proof that cord blood transplantations
that use a person’s own stem cells are more beneficial than those using a
matching donor’s stem cells.

Financial Negatives of Cord Blood Banking

Private cord blood banking is quite expensive.  When you meet with a private cord blood bank,
they’ll explain all of the fees to you.
There is an initial processing fee and a banking fee.  On top of that, there is an annual storage
fee.  The initial cost for processing the
procedure, for collecting the cord blood and for storing it ranges from about
$600 to $1800 for the first year.  After
that, the yearly storage fee is about $100.
This is a lot of money to pay for something that is basically an
insurance policy.  While saving a child’s
life is, of course, priceless, the research does not, at this time, support the
idea that cord blood banking is more helpful in saving a child’s life than are
other methods that are less expensive.

Other Alternatives

If you choose not to store your children’s cord blood and they
have a medical condition, this does not mean that there is no treatment
available to you.  Regular bone marrow
transplants with a matching donor are still an option, as is finding a cord
blood match through a public cord blood bank.
It is important to understand these options so that you don’t make a
decision based on fear or future regret.

Usefulness of the Cord Blood

While private cord blood banks will tell you that the cord blood
can potentially save your child’s life, much of the evidence has not yet proven
the power of the cord blood.  First of
all, umbilical cord blood stem cells can only be used for transplants in
children or young adults.  Cord blood
banking doesn’t provide enough stem cells to complete an adult’s transplant
needs.  So, the stored stem cells are
only helpful in the event that a child in the family becomes ill.

Research has not proven that there are more benefits to the stem
cells taken from a relative than those taken from an unrelated donor.  While it is nice insurance to know that those
stem cells would be there for your family, should you need them, the research
indicates that you would have as much success receiving stem cells from an
unknown donor as you do from a family member.

These are some of the main disadvantages at the moment to
storing cord blood.  This is a relatively
new field, and the medical profession has only been storing cord blood since the 1970s.  Some argue that it is important to store cord
blood now in the hopes that future research will yield more life-saving
purposes for the cord blood.  While this
is a possibility, it’s not necessarily a valid enough point for the cost of
storing cord blood today.

It is certainly important to know the facts about private
cord blood banking and to become educated before making this decision.  Try to make an informed decision, and one
that will make you comfortable – emotionally, physically and financially – for
years to come.

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