In the rush of activity that can accompany a pregnancy, it’s perhaps not surprising that expectant parents don’t spend much time thinking about the issue of umbilical cord blood. After all, new mothers and fathers have to deal with baby names, nursery decorating schemes, preparing siblings for the new arrival, and sometimes, the pressing medical needs associated with bearing a child.
Even though this is a busy time for all involved, however, expectant parents should still take time to consider public cord blood banking donation. This is a decision with the potential to impact the future of your child as well as your other family members and society at large.
What are the benefits of cord blood banking?
Blood collected from a newborn’s umbilical cord is quite special because it contains a unique variety of cells known as stem cells. These cells can be compared to “building blocks” because they are able to develop many other kinds of cells. This makes them invaluable in the treatment and repair of various organs, tissues, and systems in the body.
Cord blood banking is a way of building up a repository of these important cells so that they can be used not only in the treatment of disease, but also for research into new potential cures. Already, several dozen promising remedies have been developed from stem cells and future research into additional potential cures depends on a ready supply of donated cord blood in the future.
Cord blood banking and your baby’s health
When a baby is born, many parents begin making long-range financial plans to help pay for college, an event nearly two decades in the future. It is just as important to think ahead to the medical needs that may arise for a child in the years to come.
Donating cord blood at birth can function almost like an insurance policy against certain medical conditions. The stem cells contained in that blood may never be required for use, but they will be available in case your child does develop a condition that can be treated with them. This can give parents the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have done everything possible to ensure a long and healthy life for their child.
Things to consider before making a decision
It is important to understand that a cord blood donation may end up helping people other than your own child. Anyone who is a close genetic match can potentially use the stem cells too, which means that siblings and other relatives may benefit from your foresight.
Although cord blood donation is a medical procedure, it is painless since the blood is collected from the umbilical cord, not from the mother or the baby. Nor does the procedure present any sort of health risk to either party.
However, those considering a donation may want to think about the financial costs involved. If you are donating the cord blood for research or to benefit other people, you can probably find a non-profit organization that will handle all the costs for you. If, however, you want to be able to access the cord blood for your own family at some future point, you may need to pay these costs yourself. The initial procedure can add up to hundreds of dollars. In addition, there will be a yearly storage fee to keep the blood properly preserved.
Cord blood banking provides new parents not only with a valuable resource that their child may someday need, but also allows them to make a positive contribution to scientific knowledge. By providing materials needed to continue new lines of stem cell research, these parents can aid in the ongoing development of new lifesaving medical treatments.