Cord Blood Banking - Pros and Cons

Updated on December 06, 2010
P.G. asks from Morristown, NJ
16 answers

I will be giving birth to my twins in a few weeks and we cannot decide whether to go for cord blood storage or not. From what I've read/heard from other parents, it makes sense when you either have a child/relative with an existing condition that can be cured with the help of stem cells or if there is a family history of such diseases and, therefore, a higher chance that your child can develop one. In other cases, it seems that the benefits of the procedure do not outweigh its cost and annual storage fee. I would like to hear from those of you who considered doing or did this for your children, and whether you think it's been worth doing. Thank you!

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answers from Dallas on

I didn't do it but my son has autism and some who did bank cord blood are looking into treatments that have helped kids with disabilities. I guess the con is the cost.

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answers from New York on

We did not to cord blood banking. If you have a lot of extra money on hand, sure, go ahead and do it. However, for most people, it is not worth it in my opinion. Here are a few reasons:

Embryonic stem cells often cannot be used for yourself later on (say your child develops leukemia, pre-leukemic cells are probably in the cord blood already). The cord blood is mostly useful for other children or other family members.

The amount of stem cells they get from cord blood is often not enough to treat conditions that occur in older children or adults. It is most helpful for young children, also limiting its usefulness.

94% of the people who need stem cell transplants (of any kind -- including adult stem cells) get them even if they didn't bank cord blood. So even if your child needed a transplant, they almost certainly would be able to get one without cord blood banking.

Although the blood banks list a zillion illnesses that cord blood can treat, very few of those are actually proven successful, the rest of the diseases are mostly being currently studied. Cord blood is mostly used for leukemia; I once ran the numbers to get the chances of your child getting leukemia ... I don't remember what it was, but the chance was a tiny fraction of 1 percent. Obviously, if your child was the 1 in a million, you'd want to have the cord blood, but to spend thousands of dollars for something you almost certainly will not need (and something that is usually successfully treated without cord blood) just was not worth it for us.

That's not to say that cord blood won't be useful for many other things in the future. Research is always going on that will surely expand the usefulness of cord blood stem cells. However, based on the current science, cord blood is not nearly as useful as the companies would like you to believe. In fact, there was a big scandal/report about a year ago about some of the charlatan advertising practices and scare tactics they were using, which also revealed that they were significantly exaggerating the current usefulness of cord blood.

We chose to let the umbilical cord keep pulsating until it returned all the blood to the baby (leaving nothing behind for collection). We viewed this as the baby's blood and believe the research that shows it's helpful; we figured this way our baby was DEFINITELY getting the use of her cord blood. However, had we let them clamp the cord early (leaving blood in the cord), we would have donated the blood. This is free and goes to a public bank or for research (to help expand the usefulness of cord blood). If everyone donates cord blood, there will be plenty in public banks if our children ever need it!

It is a personal decision, but these were the factors that influenced our decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi P.,

I haven't read your other responses yet, but have you thought of freezing the cord yourself? Save a lot of money and be prepared at the same time. The chances of your needing it are very slim, as you know.

from the Pocono Mts. of PA



answers from New York on

Hi P.,
This is really subjective. For the most part, all of my friends have banked, and we banked for my son two years ago and are going to be banking for my daughter when she is born. We are looking at it like an insurance policy. You hope you never need it, but it's there just in case. One of the companies told me something interesting regarding the national free registry, that if your child is of different ethnic backgrounds, the chances of finding a match in the free registry are smaller (which effects my children). I know it's pricey, but we didn't ever want to be in the situation where we needed it and didn't have it.
Good luck with your decision!



answers from Austin on

Please, please, please do NOT bank the cord blood. That blood and all of the rich stem cells belong to your baby. You should delay clamping and cutting the cord until the cord has stopped pulsing. It is a much easier transition to life outside the womb for the baby if you let the cord pulse out. They do not have to breathe right away and it gives the baby's body time to start functioning. Please research delayed cord clamping and learn about all the beneficial effects.




answers from Charlotte on

I also considered this, and basically decided against it since there were no diseases in our families and also due to the cost. It costs a bloody fortune, and unless there is history of disease or you are filthy rich and it truly wouldn't matter to spend thousands of dollars doing this, I would not recommend it. One more reason to consider - whatever company you use could go out of business and you would never have access to the stem cells if that happens, nor would you know that they went out of business. Better yet - put those thousands of dollars away in a college fund!



answers from New York on

I have heard reports on the news that the cord blood cannot help a great many diseases or problems that your child might get. It seems right now that the benefits of cord blood are limited. However thats not to say that in the future they will have discovered new ways to use it. So if you can afford it, it might be a good idea. I think you should research the pros and cons from experts.


answers from Dover on

I looked into it four years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. Your assessment seems right in line w/ what I found. I did find that for children born with low Apgar Score they waived their fee so I had the paperwork completed and decided that IF my daughter has the low Apgar Score we would have it done.

Didn't need it and couldn't afford the cost. Thank God we did/haven't needed it.



answers from New York on

We did it for both of our children. I hope to never use it, but if i didn't do it, I didn't want to regret it. I was once told by a nurse, it's like a life insurance policy for your child. Good luck and you'll make the right choice. God Bless.



answers from Detroit on

I work in teh healthcare field... the cost of private cord banking is very high.and there are yearly maintenace fees too.. so every year you have to pay.. there is very little chance that your child will need the cord blood. the conditions that can be treated by cord blood are very rare..

I could not justify paying that amount of money for something that we most likely would not need.

I would donate cord blood to a public bank to be used by anyone in need. Taht is free. and if you need the cord blood and yor childs is still available you could use it..



answers from Atlanta on

With our first we went with Viacord. It isn't terribly expensive at this point -about $125 per year -and I just couldn't stand the thought of my child developing some disease or issue that possibly would have been helped with cord blood if we didn't bank it.

With the second, I found out about the National Cord Blood Registry. It's FREE when you donate the cord blood! You sign up through your hospital and they handle everything. If you ever need it for a child or yourself, you can still get it. However, if anyone else matches closely enough to benefit from it -they can use it too -so you have the opportunity to help someone else. Also, they almost never need all the cord blood, so if someone matched your child's, it still most likely would not all be depleted in case you needed it.

If you want to use the Cord Blood Registry or National Program -you'll need to check with your hospital about whether or not they are affiliated. Not every hospital collects for every registry. The private, paid ones send you a kit and the doctor and nurses do it, but for public, free donation -the hospital has to be in the program. If you go on a tour, they will most likely let you know if they are and with which one. You need to fill out the paperwork ahead of time so they're ready when you deliver. If you don't know yet about your hospital -call maternity services or whoever handles labor and delivery administration there and ask.

I'm glad we have cord blood in two places, and I hope the cord blood we donated is helping or will help someone.




answers from New York on

If your child develops a blood borne illness, his or her own stem cells cannot be used for treatment - if someone else in the family gets sick, those cells may be used for their benefit. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend cord blood banking, nor does any other medical organization that I'm aware of. The doctors you see in the ads in parenting magazines are paid for their endorsements.


answers from Miami on

Hi P. :-)

Hmmmmm.. interesting question and the best way I can answer is to say that HAD this been available to me when my daughter was born, I would have done it... but this may be because of the experiences I have had in life, observing my husband as he donated twice to his sister two separate bone marrow transplants.

The research is increasing with stem cells and they are not just for blood disorders but being used for all kinds of new growth in the body. Some moms below in posts are reporting of free centers if you donate as well, sounds like a reasonable thing to me.

A. R.N., Energy Medicine Practitioiner



answers from New York on

We did bank the cord blood for both of our sons. My decision was based on my brother having Multiple Sclerosis. Currently, there is no research that states that cord blood would help with MS, however I have hope that it would help in the future. The cost is a bit much, but if it could help my brother it would be worth it above and beyond. We have a strong family history of autoimmune disorders so I thought is was important that my children have it for use in the future too.



answers from Los Angeles on

I banked both of my son's cord blood and plan on doing it for baby number three in a few months. After doing my research and talking to different doctors (none of whom were OB's just doctors with children of their own) I decided that there was NO WAY I WOULDN'T bank their cord blood. The most compelling reason being not so much what the cord blood could do for my child or family member now or in the near future but what it could potentially do for them in 20 to 30 years. That completely justified the cost for me. A gamble yes, but one worth taking I felt. Obviously, the hope is that our loved ones will never need it but I can't help but feel a certain amount of reassurance that perhaps down the line in 20 or 30 years my child or even my grandchildren could benefit from some brand new advancement in medical technology that does not exist today. In the present day they've been experimenting with cord blood and babies born with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions. I wouldn't place a lot of importance on family history of diseases because unfortunately most kids that become ill have no family history and parents are stuck without a match for certain potentially treatable conditions for their child or relative. I know it's expensive but I think definitely worth it. The public banking system is so flawed because many women who want to donate can't because the hospital doesn't participate in the program. The annual storage fee is usually about $150.00 so that's quite reasonable I think for peace of mind. It's the initial cost that's tough but with twins I'm sure the company would offer you a considerable discount. They discounted me about $400.00 for the birth of my second baby. I had friends who were also expecting twins and they banked because the mother was Asian and knew that mixed raced children are even harder to find a match for. Anyway, as you can probably tell I'm pro cord blood banking but I know you and your hubby will make the right decision for your family. Good luck and enjoy your little ones!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

If you decide not to bank based on the high cost or low risk, you could decide to donate the cord blood, so that it could be used to help others. It is free. Here's more info:

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