Today we are going to discuss a very important topic for expecting parents. Most of us believe that you become a parent once the baby arrives but the reality is, that you become a parent the minute you find out you are pregnant. The responsibilities, decision making, and sacrifices start immediately after you get a positive pregnancy test. In the beginning, the sacrifices (nausea, diet restrictions, and coffee withdrawal) and the decisions are much simpler. As you get closer to your due date, you are faced with much harder decisions (birth plan, medical decisions, and planning for their future). Carrie went in for her 28 week check up this week. Her doctor discussed the options for banking the baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue. Being that it is a large finical investment, she had thousands of questions about the process, namely – Should I bank cord blood and tissue? As usual, the telephone call came at six thirty in the evening. I was knee deep in dinner, bath, and bedtime rituals, so I promised I would dedicate this week’s blog to cord blood and tissue banking. Let’s get started!
Should I Bank Cord Blood and Tissue?
What is cord blood?
It is the blood that is within your baby’s umbilical cord. After the umbilical cord is cut, the blood stored in the placenta and cord is no longer needed by your infant but still contains valuable blood products. The most important being stem cells. These young stem cells have the ability to renew themselves and become specialized. Therefore, they have been utilized in the treatment of life threatening blood disorders and cancers. With stem cell treatment, the stem cells are introduced into the body in the hopes of replacing damaged blood cells with new healthy ones.
What is cord tissue?
The tissue that is found in the umbilical cord. The stem cells from the tissue are different from the stem cells found in the cord blood and have potential to treat medical conditions affecting cartilage, muscles, and nerve cells. There is promising research that these cells will be helpful in the treatment of lung injury, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, bone injury, rheumatoid Arthritis, cartilage injury, and liver disease. Currently, the cord tissue cells are not being implemented into clinical practice as research trials are ongoing.
What is cord blood used to treat?
Cord blood cells are being used to help in the treatment of over 80 different life threatening diseases. Generally speaking, it is being used for the treatment of blood disorders (aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease), cancers of the blood (leukemia, lymphoma), immune deficiencies, and metabolic disorders.
Can my family members use the cord blood and tissue cells?
Yes! There will be extensive testing to ensure the sibling or immediate family member is a match. Once it is confirmed that they are a match, the cells can be used for siblings and/or parents. It is possible that cord tissue cells may be utilized by extended family (aunts, uncles, and grandparents) too!
How much does it cost?
Banking your baby’s cord blood and tissue is an investment. These are average numbers, so please take the time to investigate different pricing and discounts that exist before making a decision.
Cord blood and tissue
Initial fee- $2,770. Annual storage- $300. This covers the processing of the cells, the first year storage and the medical courier fee. You can choose to pay in full or spread payments out over 6 or 12 months.
Cord blood alone
Initial fee- $1,650. Annual storage- $150. This includes the processing of the cells, the first year storage and the medical courier fee. You can choose to pay in full or spread payments out over 6 or 12 months. There is no credit check and no qualifying.
If this doesn’t fit into your budget there are credit companies that will work with you (www.carecredit.com), but be aware that there will be a interest rate associated with your payment plan. Please educate yourself before making any decision.
In my opinion, do I think it is worth the investment?
Absolutely! I think if you have the budget for it, bank both the cord blood and the tissue. In my opinion, if your budget is limited, invest in banking the cord blood only and not the cord tissue.
I hope this answered all your questions and helps you with your decision! Carrie, I love you but next time you need medical advice, please make sure you call between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Anytime after 5:30 pm in the Friedman household is what I like to call Witching Time! See you next Wednesday!