Public Versus Private Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking is an interesting and exciting topic in today's medical world.  If you are considering banking your newborn's cord blood, it's very important to be educated about this process and about your options.  One of the distinctions is between private and public cord blood banks.  While both of these types of cord blood banks store cord blood, they serve very different purposes for the population at large.

Private Cord Blood Banks

Private cord blood banks are for-profit enterprises.  Their goal is to get you to store your baby's cord blood with them.  When you meet with a private cord blood bank, they will explain the many benefits of cord blood banking.  They will also explain their fees.  During the first year, there are quite high fees for doing private cord blood banking.  These fees include an initial processing fee, a fee for the storage kit, the retrieval of the cord blood after the birth, the courier service who take the cord blood to the bank, and the storage of cord blood.  This first year generally costs between $600 and $1800.  The annual price for storing the cord blood during subsequent years is approximately $100 a year. 

Private cord blood banks save your cord blood for your exclusive use.  This means that the cord blood will be available, should someone in the family become ill.  Similarly, should technology advance a great deal, and should stem cells be found to help cure even more issues and illnesses, the cord blood you've stored will be available to you.

Public Cord Blood Banking

Another option is to donate your child's cord blood to a nonprofit cord blood bank.  The nonprofit cord blood bank will then use this cord blood in one of two ways.  They are always looking for more cord blood for research.  The more researchers who have the opportunity to research with stem cells, the more likely they are to make more breakthroughs in the medical sphere and find more cures.  Similarly, public cord blood banks store cord blood that is then available to other people should their children become ill. 

The cord blood is still collected when you give birth, but it is anonymously marked at that time and sent to a public bank.  There is no expense for you at all; however, you also can't retrieve this cord blood should someone in your family become ill.

Donating Cord Blood

If you are interested in donating your child's cord blood, you can get in touch with your regional chapter of the American Red Cross or your closest university hospital.  You can also check with the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) list of cord blood banks that accept donations.  There are 12 major cities in America that have this program and they can help you to find the closest public cord blood bank for your needs.  The process is completely private and does not cost anything.  Before the birth, you will have to fill out some paper work and give your consent to have the cord blood taken.

Understanding all of the aspects of cord blood banking will help you to make an educated decision for you and your family.  Most pediatric organizations only recommend private cord blood banking should you have a pre-existing condition or sick family member who could use a bone marrow transplant; however, donating cord blood to a public cord blood bank is a wonderful way to aid in research and to help people who are already sick.

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