Cord Blood Banking, Storing, & Disposing Options for Parents
In 2022, it is relatively easy to donate or store cord blood. There are public and private cord blood banks operating in most parts of the world, offering the processing and storage of several types of stem cells.
However, when donating cord blood, there are two important things you need to be aware of. The first is that the majority of organisations that accept cord blood donations require the mother to sign up in advance. To store cord blood, you ideally will sign up when you are between 28 and 34 weeks pregnant.
The second is the crucial difference between private and public cord blood banks. This is what we are going to look at in more detail in this article.
Donating Cord Blood to a Public Bank
Donating to a public cord blood bank is an accessible option for many people. Public banks work closely with hospitals and there is no fee for the collection and storage.
Banking with a public cord blood bank means that your sample is publicly available to anyone with a need for treatment. Of course, this also means that everyone else’s samples are available to you and your family.
The downside of the public stem cell registry is that there is no guarantee of finding a close match. What’s more, even if a close match is found, the success rates of treatments using allogeneic transplants (stem cells from other people) can vary.
Storing Cord Blood in a Private Bank
Along with donating cord blood to a public bank, it is now possible for people all over the world to store cord blood in a private bank. Private banks typically charge a collection and ongoing storage fee for this service.
Private cord blood banking allows families to retain access to their cord blood samples. Only you and your immediate family can access your sample from the bank and it will be able to be released whenever you need it.
As the cord blood is from yourself (autologous transplant) or your own family, the potential for risk from Graft Versus Host Disease is much lower and the success rate is much higher. Autologous samples are a 100 percent HLA match to the donor, a 50 percent match to the parents, and 25 percent match to siblings.
Disposing of Umbilical Cord Blood
Despite the proven benefits of umbilical cord stem cells, most of these valuable cells are still discarded at the time of birth. This is a personal choice of the family, however, unfortunately this is often the default option due to a lack of awareness of cord blood banking.
Umbilical cord stem cells save the lives of thousands of children and adults with blood cancers every year. New studies and technologies are also always being released, opening up new possibilities for stem cells to treat more diseases and conditions.
Today, the practice of cord blood banking in a private bank is much more efficient and cost-effective than it once was. Storing umbilical cord blood in a private bank can cost as little as £65 a year*, and the retrieval process can be as quick as 24 hours.
You never know when you, one of your family members, or someone else might need umbilical cord stem cells. Help us spread the word and make cord blood banking the new default practice!
Future Health is one of the world’s largest, most accredited private stem cell banks. We transport and store stem cell samples from over 94 countries, including umbilical cord stem cells, cord tissue, and dental pulp stem cells. Contact our team to discover how to bank your children’s future health.
*Annual storage fee, initial collection and processing fee applies.