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Cord-Banking: Have you done it?

Mamas, I honestly have no idea on this one.  Might you have some thoughts or experience to share with this urbanMama?

I've got 3 boys and another on the way and my mom really wants me to bank the cord blood this time. I've been reading about it, found a cost comparison chart along with basic services, but I was wondering how many families have actually done it and what did they base their decision on when choosing a company? Also, at what age, if applicable, did you decide to stop paying the annual fee?  I read somewhere you had to be registered by the third trimester (which is coming up soon!) and now I'm panicking that I need to make a decision this week.

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Yes, we banked cord blood for our two youngest (was not available when the oldest was born). My sister, a nurse in delivery at the time, helped me select a facility.

If you do not bank it yourself, please donate.

My baby needed all its blood at birth. Cord banking is a big business. We did not.

Cord blood used to be thrown away; the blood is not taken from the baby. Again, if you opt not, please donate for medical research.

Cord blood has stem cells in it.

Most likely, you will not need the cord blood, but it has had a significant impact in cases where the need arises. The APA does not dispute its efficacy, but rather states that most families will not need it: " . . . because there is little evidence that the expensive process will pay off for families -- even though the number of experimental therapies involving cord blood is growing."

If everyone would donate, banking may not be necessary as a match could be found and any benefits would be available to all.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/21/science/sci-cordblood21

When my oldest was born, the Red Cross had a program where they would bank it for you, but it was also available for someone else that might need it and be a match. So, it did not cost, but there was no guarantee it was available if you needed it down the road. I did it then, because I couldn't think of a reason not to. When my second was born, I donated it, but didn't feel I was in a position to be able to pay for storage. Here's hoping I don't ever regret that!

At the time I checked into it, about 5 years ago, the science wasn't as advanced. There is very little blood in the umbilical cord. For it to be transfused as a life saving (stem cell) transplant would be limited to very young recipients meaning the bigger the recipient the more cord blood needed. I have not been keeping up to date but I did hear at one time that they were working on cloning the cells to increase the volume making the banked blood more useful as the child gets older.

Something to consider, what are the chances of your infant/child developing something that stem cells would be the cure? Which cancers and other diseases would it come into play? How long can it be banked before the viability declines?

I would gladly donate the cord blood for research in Type I Diabetes, spinal cord injuries, etc. One of the challenges is that we aren't packed with research facilities like the East Coast making it difficult to coordinate the donation.

I wonder how many times banked cord blood has come into use for the infant/child? Anyone have those numbers?

Not that I know much about this, but I bumped into a video that involved lotus birth, where the cord blood doesn't appear to be thrown away at all after the birth. I'd love to know the philosophy and procedure there.

We banked the cord blood of our now 6 year old. It was a big cost up front, I think it was around $1500, but it is nice knowing that the blood and stem cells are there. Harvesting and sending the cord blood was super easy with out delivery doctor and doula knowing what to do and helping do it. The blood is sent by overnight delivery in a special package to the storage facility. My mother died of cancer and needed a stem cell transplant, but sadly none of her sisters or brothers were a match, they also could not find a match worldwide for her.
It is interesting to note that a childs cord blood is a perfect match for the mother and that child. Can also be a possible match for siblings. For me it is an extra insurance and knowing that the stem cells are there if they are ever needed is a relief. The yearly storage fee is $90, much cheaper than any other healthcare insurance out there. We used Cryocell.

How long are the cells good for? I know that for cancer patients that can donate for themselves (ie Multiple Myeloma)there is a 10 year limit on storage before they consider the cells no longer viable.

Nysa, sorry to hear about your mom. That must be hard knowing there is a potential treatment but unable to find a match. Reminds me to update my info with the National Bone Marrow Registry as I have since moved. During your Mom's illness was cord blood mentioned as an option? I am curious to know if there has been success in cloning the cord blood stem cells to provide adequate volume of cells for a successful transplant.

I wonder if all the banked cord blood is available for cross matching? Could you imagine being in a position of donating the cells to some one in need but family refuses because they are saving it for themselves just in case? This is where cloning would be a perfect.

The more advances we make the more complicated life seems to get.

You'll also need to check with your hospital or delivery facility - when I gave birth we were interested in donating but Providence Portland was not set up (at least at that time) to process donations. Maybe someone knows if this has changed.

I work for the Oregon Cord Blood Donation program @ OHSU and would encourage you to consider donating your baby's cord blood. The cord blood program is free to donors, and supplies the National Marrow Donor Program (http://www.marrow.org/HELP/Donate_Cord_Blood_Share_Life/index.html) with cord blood to be used in transplant for children and adults with cancer, leukemia, and blood disorders. More information (including private banking versus public donation) is available at our website: http://www.ohsu.edu/health/cordblood/cordblood.cfm.
Cord blood banking is generally only recommended for families with a current affected member or history of diseases that can be treated with blood stem cell transplant. Another helpful website is http://parentsguidecordblood.org/ which is put together by an independent, third party with no financial interest in either option. I hope this helps.

Does anyone know how "delayed cord clamping" (to allow oxygenated blood from the placenta to keep pulsing into the newborn's body after delivery) affects the ability to collect cord blood for banking or donation? I've read that there is significant benefit to waiting until the cord is finished pulsing to clamp and cut it. However, if you and your ob/midwife decide to do this, would there be significant/any cord blood left in the severed cord to harvest?

I'm due in 3 weeks and would love to donate the cord blood. I'm delivering at Providence St. Vincent - do you know if it's available there?

Leigh,
No cord blood was not mentioned as an option for a transplant when my mom was ill. She died almost 15 years ago and so sadly, the technology was just not there yet. I hope that in another 15 years time there will be even more uses for cord blood and that it can help more families and their children.
Nysa

We banked both of our daughters blood through CBR. The entire process was very easy (Tiffany, I delivered in 07 at St. V's and my midwife took care of it for me as she knew prior to my delivery that we were planning to bank). CBR has a really informative website that explains how cord blood can be helpful in certain situations. It makes perfect sense it there are particular medical conditions in your family and can be especially helpful for a sibling. Also, CBR regularly offers a coupon of $155 off, if you decide to bank with them, I'm sure you can negotiate the fee. I've also heard of people "registering" for cord blood banking rather than traditional baby items. As I said before, check out the CBR website. We have had a very positive experience with this company going on six years.

My nieces and nephews are all banked. My 3 children are all too old. It is possible that the sample from my nieces and nephew could save one of my children. I helped my sisters do the research because I have a medical science background. My research was extensive. CBR does have a great site but is outrageously expensive for the same service as others. There are companies out there that have the "latest and greatest" in technology. I understand that some of the older "Big Companies" are coming to this latest equipment but aren't there yet. They have only a 72% cell viability. The new equipment supports 98% cell viability. Cell reproduction (multiplication) is possible and used for many years in other countries(Germany, Venezuela,S. Korea) but not yet FDA approved in the US. As far as the blood volume, it is possible to draw from the cord after the cord is done pulsing. This can lessen the amount of blood drawn but if there is not enough the company will not charge you. My sisters used CBR with the first babies. They switched to Cord Banc USA http://www.cordbancusa.com with the following 4 babies. This company is based in Monterey and has really inexpensive prices. They did the all inclusive plan. $2195 for the first 18 years of life, there is no yearly storage fee. They also have 3 other payment plans. Their basic plan is $700 cheaper than CBR. I hope this helps. This storage can help save your baby or siblings from over 80 diseases and counting. Duke University is running a study on Cerebral Palsy and has cured children with their own Umbilical Cells. http://www.dallashextellfoundation.org/mission
American Diabetes Association is running a study and has children that are slowing the progress of the disease with their umbilical cells. They have less need for incilin. It is amazing. Most people don't understand that you can't get these cells back. It is a one time shot. We spend more on homeowners insurance than we do our children. If you could afford it why wouldn't you?

Thank you all for the information and insight! This truly helps my research and decision making easier. Thank you!

I just delivered my second eight weeks ago. I was going to donate until my midwife told me that delayed cord clamping, which i wanted to do, would make it so I couldn't donate my cord blood. Thus, I opted for delayed clamping. I delivered with the OHSU midwifery clinic.

Unfortunately, VJ, Your midwife was miss informed. Delayed clamping in no way prevents you from storing umbilical cord blood. It decreases the potential volume but not the storage. The lab will inform you if there is not enough blood to complete the storage.
Please don't risk losing this life saving opportunity by mis information.

I had a Homebirth, and while I was aware of and intruiged by the possibilities of cordblood, it was not an option for us as far as I could tell.

in my opinion, private cord banking is usually stealing from peter to pay paul. peter being your newborn baby who NEEDS ITS BLOOD (and stem cells) NOW while paul is an industry taking advantage of a science whose benefits are suspected but not well proven (and who charge an arm and a leg for their services).

delayed cord clamping is free, easy and immediately beneficial to your baby. check out this short video on delayed cord clamping for more info http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2870183/we_can_be_much_kinder/

there is a lot less blood left in the cord after delayed cord clamping and they usually need quite a bit (of your babys blood) for full cord blood banking. you might be able to do both but this is pretty unlikely. it's a great idea to donate the remaining amount of cord blood to scientific research though as long as your baby has received as much as it needs.

My daughter used www.cordbancusa.com as well and was really happy with the quality of information and the knowledge and caring of the staff.

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