Cord Blood Banking Facts: A Cord Blood Guide for Soon-to-Be Parents by Dr. Kimi Suh
When you’re pregnant, you may get a lot of information about banking your baby’s cord blood. Are you wondering why it’s important? Should you bank your baby’s cord blood? You may want to consider it, Mom-to-be. Here are some facts about cord blood banking:
Cord Blood Banking Helps Others: The blood in a baby’s umbilical cord is rich in blood-forming stem cells similar to those in a person’s bone marrow. After Baby is born, she no longer needs this blood, but it can be used to treat other people with diseases such as leukemia. There are actually 80 diseases that can be treated with a cord blood transplant! This is good to know when deciding if banking your baby's cord blood is right for you.
Cord Blood Banking Does No Harm: Some moms are concerned that donating cord blood will affect their baby or delivery. Not true. No blood is ever taken from your baby. After Baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and the umbilical cord and placenta are collected into a sterile bag.
Cord Blood Vs. Embryonic Stem Cells: Often, people get cord blood stem cells and embryonic stem cells confused, or think they are the same thing. This is not the case. Cord blood stem cells are taken from the baby’s umbilical cord or placenta after the baby has been born. It is not taken from an embryo. The umbilical cord and placenta is typically discarded after a normal delivery.
Private Vs. Public Cord Blood Banking: There are two options when deciding to bank Baby’s cord blood: private or public banking. At Loyola, we recommend public banking and so do many medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Medical Association (AMA).
- Public cord banking is free and allows you to help anyone who is need of a life-saving transplant.
- Public banking also allows the blood to be used in research. There’s hopeful research that cord blood transplants could be used to treat other conditions such as Alzheimer’s, heart failure and spinal cord injuries.
- Here's a list of hospitals that collect cord blood for donation to public cord blood banks for listing on the Be The Match Registry®, where they are available to any patient in need of a transplant. Even if your hospital is not on the list, you can receive a blood cord collection kit and the person delivering your baby can use it to collect the cord blood.
It’s best to make a decision about cord blood donation between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife with any questions you have, to see if you are a candidate and if your hospital collects for a public bank.