Public or Private Banking?

If you are thinking about using a cord blood bank, you’ll certainly have a lot of decisions to make. One of these decisions is to decide whether you want to use a public or a private cord blood bank. What is the difference and how do you make this important decision for your family? While both types of banks store cord blood, they serve very different purposes and should be understood in full before making a decision.

The Public Bank

A nonprofit cord blood bank is considered a public bank. When you use a public bank, you are donating your cord blood for someone’s future use. It is not going to be for your use – and it won’t actually be used by your family. The bank will then have two options for using the cord blood. They may use it for extra research. The more opportunity to research stem cells that doctors have, the more breakthroughs they may have in the medical realm. Another option for public banks is to donate the cord blood to someone who becomes ill and comes to the public bank for cord blood.

How The Public Process Works

If you are interested in storing cord blood with a public bank, it will be collected at the hospital, just as it would be with a private bank. The cord blood, however, is anonymously marked and sent to the bank. There is no expense for you – but you should understand that you won’t be able to retrieve your specific cord blood should you need cord blood at some point. To donate to a public bank, you have a number of options. You can get in touch with the regional chapter of the American Red Cross or you can be in touch with your university hospital. Check, as well, with the National Marrow Donor Programs (NMDP) list of cord blood banks that will accept donations.

Going the Private Route

Using a private cord blood bank is an entirely different process. They are for-profit institutions and they store your cord blood for your own future use. There are fees involved with private cord blood banking, mostly incurred during the first year. After the first year, there is a small yearly fee for the storage of the cord blood. The first year usually costs between $600 and $800 and the yearly fee thereafter is around $100. Private cord blood banks store the cord blood for your use, and your use only. The cord blood will be available for you, should someone in your family become ill. It is not used for the bank’s research purposes and is not donated to someone else.

Public and private cord blood banks serve very different purposes. You have to decide for yourself, and your family, if you intend to use the cord blood for your own use, or if you are hoping to further medical research. Most pediatric organizations recommend cord blood banking if you have a pre-existing condition in the family or a sick family member who may benefit from a bone marrow transplant. Donating blood, on the other hand, is a great public service and one that is looked at as quite a commendable undertaking.

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