When I was pregnant I heard a lot about cord blood banking and received many pamphlets from different companies offering cord blood banking services. I didn’t know much about the process or the reasons to bank my baby’s cord blood, so I decided it was worth some research. Cord blood is the blood that remains in your baby’s umbilical cord after delivery. The blood is a source of stem cells that can be used in different medical treatments. Cord blood and stem cells have been used to treat different ailments, including cancers, blood disorders, and immune diseases. If needed in your child’s lifetime, he or she will always be a perfect match to the cord blood collected at delivery. Cord blood banks cryogenically freeze the blood and hold on to it for you if ever needed. When discussing the topic with other pregnant moms, someone told me that they weren’t going to bank their unborn baby’s blood because she didn’t do it for her other children – implying that this baby would be given something the other children weren’t and it would be unfair. Well guess what? Cord blood can be used among siblings. In fact, 25% of the time siblings provide a perfect match to other siblings. Cord blood banking was something I ultimately decided to do for both of my babies and was a very simple process. Here’s how it worked for me:
- Around the start of my third trimester, after much thought, I decided to bank my baby’s cord blood. I called a company and gave them some information. Basic information, like when I was due, my address, and some demographics.
- A few weeks later I received a small package in the mail that contained the retrieval kit to bring to the hospital. I packed it with my other things to bring and didn’t think about it again until I checked into the hospital.
- I gave the collection kit to my doctor upon checking in and reminded him we were banking my baby’s cord blood.
- After I delivered my baby, my husband cut the cord and my OB deposited the blood into the container.
- A few hours after delivery I called the phone number on the bottom of the box to tell them I had cord blood to be banked. A courier service came to my hospital room, collected the box, and took it to a cord blood bank across the country.
- The next day, while still in the hospital, I got a phone call from the bank confirming the blood had been received.
Both times the process went like that. It was very simple and no extra stress was added to labor and delivery. I think cord blood banking is worth looking into and deciding for yourself if you want to do it. It is expensive, but for me I decided it was a priority. You can also donate your baby’s cord blood for free to a public bank where it remains to be matched with someone else in need.
Maybe you weren’t aware of cord blood banking during other pregnancies or maybe you’re a first time mom, but my advice to you is to look into both private and public banking options. It’s a one-time opportunity at birth to collect the blood; otherwise, it is discarded.