Today, cord blood stem cells are used in treating many diseases, and collecting them is painless, safe and related to the usual birthing process. It is also both potentially lifesaving and non-controversial. With this in mind, parents often decide to save their infant’s cord blood and store it with a private bank, where it is available for the family to use if the need arises. Others donate the stems cells to a public bank for the common good.
Public blood banks cover the cost of collecting, analyzing and storing umbilical cord blood, and there is no charge to the parents. So if you feel that private donation is something you cannot afford, public donation may be the way to go. Note that if you take this step, it can be given to a recipient who is a match, but if the cord blood you have donated can be used for a specific transplant, it will be made available to you unless another person has already received it.
Generally speaking, the likelihood of the cord blood not being available when you or your family needs it is minimal, because less than 10% of the donated units have been used previously. Also, while availability cannot be guaranteed if you go to a public bank, whenever someone makes such a donation, the probability of finding a match, regardless of the donor source, increases.
When a baby is delivered, the umbilical cord blood is regarded as “a potentially life-saving product.” The parents do not need it, and they are unable to use it or keep it. It can be thrown away as medical waste, or you can decide to have it collected and possibly save another person’s life. Remember that collecting the blood is totally safe for both you and your child, and painless as well.
If, for any reason, your donation cannot be used in a transplant procedure, it can still be used to do research. Medical research helps scientists discover the best way to treat various illnesses and how to prevent them in the future. In regard to cord blood, because of all that has already been learned about cord blood uses in the medical profession, remember that the donation you make can be used by researchers to learn more about treating and preventing many diseases, including cancers, diabetes, blood diseases, and many more. These are just some of the answers to the question many parents ask—“Why bank cord blood?”