Cord Blood Banking

July is Cord Blood Awareness Month. Cord blood contains stem cells collected from a baby's umbilical cord and placenta that can be used in the treatment of a variety of diseases and sometimes in family members with certain diseases.

There are currently options to store cord blood privately for personal use or to donate to a public bank. It is important to know the role of cord blood and to consider if you are interested prior to delivery.

Cord blood is currently being used in the treatment of some childhood cancers, anemias, inherited disorders of the immune system and for some tumors. This list is not all inclusive and there is ongoing research on the use of cord blood in the treatment of other diseases, as well. Some studies show there is a 1 in 1,000 chance that the cord blood would be used by the time your baby is 21 years of age. These statistics will change as the technology improves and more research is performed.

When you speak with your provider at a prenatal visit about cord blood banking they will provide information about the different companies that store specimens. Insurance does not typically cover cord blood collection and storage and costs vary by company. Public banking is also an option that involves no cost to the patient and puts the cord blood into a public bank to be used by other patients in need.

Deciding early in pregnancy whether you want to store or donate cord blood is important because most companies require a patient to sign up in advance, sometimes as early as 34 weeks. The providers at Capital Women's Care are here to help you through your pregnancy and provide information about cord blood banking if interested!

Morgan Wilkerson, PA-C

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