Pregnant parents hear about so many new technologies and services and receive so many opinions telling them what the right choices are.
Cord blood banking is one among the many innovations other people may consider for protecting your children, and for some families, this is undoubtedly true. Before you decide to begin working with a bank, it’s important to ask yourself: is banking cord blood necessary for your family?
Understanding cord blood banking
Most parents know about clamping and, of course, cutting the umbilical cord, but few realize that they can save the cells within that umbilical cord—or that those cells can potentially play a vital role in their child’s health in the future as well.
The process of cord blood banking is as follows: First, you’ll need to let your delivery team know that you’ve chosen to bank your cord blood. Then, after the birth, they’ll clamp the umbilical cord and secure it in the kit you’ll receive from your chosen cord blood bank. Afterward, they return the kit to the bank, and the bank will process the cord blood.
Alongside the initial cost, monthly or annual payments will ensure that the cord blood you’ve banked is preserved and ready the moment your child needs access to those stem cells for treatments like stem cell therapy. That time can be soon after birth or even a decade in the future.
When families need to consider banking cord blood
Families need to consider cord blood banking if they are aware of a family history of diseases that might benefit from stem cell treatments. These diseases include sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and combined immunodeficiencies. While not all these diseases are hereditary, shared family lifestyles and environments can cause your children to experience the same problems that your family has previously faced.
Having banked stem cells available means that your family has access to an immediate stem cell match should your child need to undergo treatment. Donor programs exist, but families with children at higher risk should weigh the value of having an on-demand supply just in case.
Making the decision
It would be unfair to suggest that every new mother and father make banking cord blood a priority. The process isn’t exactly free, and opting to focus on more immediate concerns doesn’t make anyone a bad parent. Ultimately, the best way to decide if banking cord blood is necessary for your family is to consult with your family physician or OB/GYN team.
Sharing everything with your health-care team allows them to give you an accurate answer as to whether or not cord blood banking will be important for your children’s futures.
As you weigh the pros and cons of banking cord blood for your family, it’s important to keep an eye on developments in the stem cell field, where this decision plays a key role. Advancements occur daily in what cord blood and even cord tissue can treat, and researchers continue to explore new routes that may provide you the chance to give your children healthier futures.