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CORD BLOOD

Cord Blood Preservation

Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is the blood remaining in your baby’s umbilical cord following birth. It is a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells that must be collected at the time of birth.

Stem cells are the building blocks of our blood and immune systems. They are found throughout the body in bone marrow, cord blood and peripheral blood. They are particularly powerful because they have the ability to treat, repair, and/or replace damaged cells in the body. Cord blood stem cells have been used successfully in the treatment of over 70 diseases. The current indications for umbilical cord blood transplantation are limited to select genetic, hematologic, and malignant disorders. It is important to understand that umbilical cord blood collected from a baby cannot be used to treat a genetic condition or cancer in that same baby because stored cord blood contains the same genetic variant or precancerous cells that led to the condition initially.

The collection of cord blood is safe, easy and painless for the mother and the baby. After the baby is born, but before the placenta is delivered, your doctor will clean a 4-8 inch area of the umbilical cord with antiseptic solution and insert a needle connected to a blood bag into the umbilical vein. The blood flows into the bag until the umbilical vein is emptied. The blood bag is sealed, labeled and shipped to a processing lab. The collection itself takes just a few minutes. Stem cells can still be viable after 15 years of storage. Occasionally, there are circumstances that may arise during labor and delivery that may impede adequate collection of cord blood. Cord blood collection will always come secondary to routine obstetric and neonatal care.

 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend routine collection and storage of umbilical cord blood with a private bank as there is not sufficient evidence to support this practice. However, private umbilical cord blood banking can be considered when there is a known relative with a medical condition who could potentially benefit from cord blood transplantation. The cost of preserving cord blood depends on the company you use. The general cost for cord blood preservation has a one-time charge of around $2,200 and an annual storage fee of about $125. Many companies offer extended payment plans.

Donating umbilical cord blood to a public blood bank is the recommended method of obtaining cord blood for use in transplantation, immune therapies, and other indications. There are several national cord blood banks that are free. These are public banks that collect and store cord blood at no cost but are not privatized for your personal use. Rather, anyone can use your stored cord blood and there is no guarantee it will still be available if you were to need it in the future. However, you can be confident that your cord blood will be put to good use to help treat over 70 life threatening illnesses. You can find more information on the websites below:

National Cord Blood Program
Public Cord Blood Bank

For more information, call 1-877-CORDFACTS (1-877-267-3322)

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