How Much Does Banking Cord Blood Cost?


When a child is born, there’s normally a cord attached to the belly of these newborn babies. These cords are called the umbilical cords and are normally detached from the child after birth.

The umbilical cords contain extra blood that has hematopoietic cells that are good and essential in treating over 70 diseases.

The parents of the babies can decide to put these cords to good use by donating them to public blood cord banking systems for it to be used to treat other people or to private blood cord banking systems for personal use.

Whichever way they choose to utilize this, it points out that these cord blood are effective and very essential.

In this article, we have looked into cord blood banking cost, why you should bank your baby’s cords, the processes, and all you need to know concerning cord blood banking. Before we dive into this, let’s get a little insight into cord blood.

Cord Blood 

When a baby is born, there’s usually a cord attaching the baby to its source of survival called the umbilical cord. After the birth of the baby, the cord is detached and left with some extra blood. 

The cord blood is the extra blood that is left in the baby’s umbilical cord and placenta after the cord has been detached from the baby.

This extra blood left in the cord is not needed by babies but it can be used as a means of treatment now or in the future. This is because the extra blood contains certain cells that could help in different treatments.

The cord blood consists of similar components as the normal human blood, such as red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, and plasma.

The difference between cord blood and normal blood is that it also contains hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic cells are blood-forming cells that are similar to those stem cells found in the bone marrow. These cells can be used to treat many different kinds of diseases.

Cord Blood Banking

At first, when a baby is born, the umbilical cord of the baby is cut and discarded, but later on, scientific research discovered that these cords can be of great value.

The cords contain some leftover blood which is rich in hematopoietic cells and can be used to treat over 70 diseases. 

After the birth of one’s child, the parents can decide to discard the cord blood or bank it with the help of the doctor in charge.

To bank the baby’s cord, the cord is detached and the blood inside it is collected and preserved till it can be transferred to a bank to be stored and used for future purposes. 

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), the blood gotten can be used to treat conditions such as leukemia, inherited immune system disorders, neurological disorders, lymphomas, genetic disorders, and more disease conditions.

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Banking cord blood gives a lot of parents peace of mind. Some parents think it can be used on their child to treat any unforeseen sickness later on but that’s where the limitation of cord blood interrupts.

Additionally

According to Lauren Ruggiero, M.D who is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health, the cord blood gotten from a child cant be used on that same child to treat any disease condition.

This is because the stem cell DNA of that child would have the disease programmed into it already but there are rare cases where the stem cells of that same child can actually work in treating a disease for that child. 

A situation whereby the cord blood collected is given to the same child as the treatment is called an autologous transplant.

This is considered rare because as mentioned before, the stem cells present in the cord blood cant be used to treat genetic diseases because the genes present in the stem cells are the same as the ones that caused the disease. 

According to ACOG, these transplants cannot be used to treat leukemia, a cancer of the blood disease. Also, the cord blood of a child can be used on the siblings of that same child, although research says it is often not possible.

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Cord Blood Banks Types

In order to get the extra blood from the cord of the baby store, the doctor or hospital involved will have to preserve it before transferring it to the banks. There are two types of cord blood banks that are involved in cord blood banking, they include:

The Private Cord Blood Banks

Private cord blood banks are for-profit companies that store blood with the main goal of making money from their services. They store cord blood for families or individuals with the aim that the blood is used for that same child or their sibling(s).

These banks have cord blood banking costs for storage for personal use. Storing your child’s cord blood here doesn’t guarantee that the blood will be used for anything later on.

Many private cord banks store any sample given to them regardless of whether the quality is high or low. Research has shown that cord blood stored in these banks is most often of lesser quality in terms of the number of stem cells and viability.

The Public Cord Blood Banks

Unlike private cord blood banking, public cord blood banking is a form of a non-profit organization. Here, parents can donate their baby’s cord blood for it to be used as a donation to treat anyone who needs a transplant.

If you intend to store your baby’s cord blood for personal use then you might not be able to use the public cord blood banking because it’s mainly for donations. Although, there are some public cord blood banks that accept cord blood for personal use.

Public cord blood banks are not much, but they are quite affordable and provide cord blood to anyone who requires it and for those who want it for research purposes.

In the United States, there are currently only 26 public cord blood banks, this makes it difficult to come across a public cord blood bank in local areas. 

Storing cord blood in public cord blood banks requires strict evaluation before it can be accepted for storage but private cord blood banks don’t require such.

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According to AAP, storing cord blood in the public cord blood banks is the best because there are assurances that the cord blood will be used later on in lots of transplant cases.

Cord Blood Banking Benefits

The hematopoietic stem cells found in these cord blood can make copies of themselves and can also develop different types of immune system cells and blood.

Also, they can be found in bone marrow as mentioned before. The hematopoietic stem cells can be of great help to anyone whos sick or in dire need of a stem transplant.

Furthermore, the method of utilizing these stem cells depends on the method of cord blood banking you choose to bank with. The cord blood can be banked to treat diseases such as:

  • Metabolic disorders such as Gaucher disease
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Anemia and Sickle cell diseases
  • Cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia
  • Other neurological, blood, and immune disorders

To treat any of these conditions, methods such as radiation and chemotherapy are used. These methods can be harmful, it kills harmful cells but also healthy cells at the same time.

Transferring these stem cells to a patient can help develop new blood cells that help to improve the health of the person involved.

Unlike bone marrow stem cells, blood cord stem cells can be stored for longer periods and can be donated or given to more people.

Also, they boost the immune system of the person that received the transplant better than when a bone marrow stem cell is used.

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How Much Does Cord Blood Banking Cost

The cord blood banking cost varies depending on the cord blood bank you decide to choose to bank with.

The cord blood banking cost can be a little fee or absolutely free if you decide to donate to a public cord blood banking storage.

If you choose the private cord blood banking system, you will be charged $1,350 to $2,300 for the first collection and an extra storage fee of $100 to $175 yearly.
Other factors that can influence the cord blood banking cost include:

  • If the midwife or doctor in charge charges a collection fee,
  • If the collection process is covered by your insurance,
  • Also, if there’s an existing family medical need, in which case, private banks might offer storage that is free or with discounts.

Does Insurance Cover The Cord Blood Banking Cost?

Health insurance companies don’t cover cord blood banking costs. They will not reimburse families for any costs from the private cord blood banking.

Although, there are some health insurance companies that may cover some costs if a sibling needs to be treated with the cord blood stem cells later in the future.

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What You Should Consider When Selecting A Cord Blood Bank

If you have decided to try cord blood banking, the next step is to choose which bank you wish to bank with.

Cord blood banking is a very important investment and can be of good use in the future. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a bank for cord blood banking:

#1. Stability of the Company

First, you should conduct research on the bank you want to bank with thoroughly. Find out the date the bank came into existence, that is the establishment date, and also, find out details concerning the bank’s accreditation process and regulatory oversights.

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#2. Cost of Blood Cord Bank

Some companies might offer you a good deal with lower costs. This can be a tempting offer, but be wary of it.

Some companies are in need of money and will therefore follow short corners to achieve that even if the consequences will be bad later in the future. Therefore, keep your eyes open and be wary of any significantly lower costs.

#3. Requirement of Specimens

Looking into the screening process of the blood as recommended by Dr. Rugiero is a good step to follow when selecting a cord blood bank. You should check how the bank screens and evaluates the samples they receive.

Also, ask if the bank saves specimens of poor quality. This can help you determine if they are just after your money or willing to be really helpful.

#4. The Storage Process Of The Bank

You should check on the storage process of the bank. This involves how they wish to store the samples in their organization.

Again, whether you choose to bank your child’s cord blood, donate it or store it is up to you and your family to make that decision. Be selective about the bank you wish to invest in and make your research on the bank carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions On How Much Does Banking Cord Blood Cost

Is every family eligible for public cord blood banking?

No, not every family is eligible for this, but your doctor can help you to figure out if your family is eligible for it.

Can I easily encounter a doctor or midwife willing to collect my baby's cord blood?

It’s very easy to encounter a doctor or midwife willing to do this but in some cases, you might find doctors or midwives that might refuse to help. There are some hospitals that are willing to help with the collection process though.

Do I have to pay for cord blood collection?

Yes, you have to pay for cord blood collection. The cost depends on the type of cord blood bank you choose.

Is cord blood banking covered by insurance?

Cord blood banking is not covered by insurance but some health insurance covers this especially when a sibling is in need of the cord blood stem cells.

Can cord blood be stored in the freezer?

Cord blood cannot be stored in a regular freezer because it needs to be stored at an extremely cold temperature of 130 degrees Celsius. Due to this, it is stored in a nitrogen freezer in which such temperature can be attained.

Conclusion

To bank your baby’s cord is a very important decision that can help you contribute to your family or society depending on the reason why you choose to bank the blood cord.

However, the cord blood banking cost differs depending on the type of bank you choose to bank with.

While selecting a bank for cord blood banking, ensure to research and evaluate the bank properly so you won’t regret your decisions later on.

References

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