Cord Blood Banking
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Cord Blood Banking
I am interested in hearing people's opinions and stories
about banking cord blood. I looked through the archives
and most of the information is at least a year old and I
think this is one of those things where there's always new
research and changing opinions. Specifically, I want to
know if it's a good idea or a waste of money or scam as
some archived advice suggests.
I would love to hear from anyone out there who banked cord
blood and actually used it.
Need to decide
What they don't make clear until after you have an interview
with them, or do alot of research is... the cord blood is
not for your child you just had. Its for the next child or
Also, I tried to donate mine, but after the long interview
in my hospital bed after a long labor AND c section, was
told no, because I lived in Europe in the 1980s and there
was a miniscule chance that I was carrying Mad Cow disease.
We banked the cord blood for both of our kids (now 6.5 and 4.5), but
we did it for very specific reasons. I have a sister who has had
lymphoma and my husband's brother has childhood diabetes; both of
these are potentially helped by cord blood if needed.
So far we haven't needed it (knock wood), but we figure it would be
the cheapest thing we ever did if either of our siblings got sick
Our 5-year-old son is half-Asian and half-Caucasian and we
didn't bank his cord blood. But now I wish we had -- it
seems that hapa folks have a very hard time finding matches,
and his blood could have helped someone.
If I had to do it over again I might seriously consider
banking, but only if the child was mixed-race.
We really struggled with whether to do cord blood banking
when our twins were born two years ago. Despite what all of
the cord blood bank advertisements said, the research I saw
seemed inconclusive. It's a lot of money to pay for
something that may or may not pan out. Some people figure
it's worth the money if there's even a remote chance it
could save your child's life, but I think it's easy to make
that argument if you have enough money that you can afford it.
In the end, we hadn't really decided one way or the other,
and then suddenly our babies were born and it was too late.
But... not long after our twins were born, one of my
husband's closest friends mentioned that he was involved
with a company that stores baby teeth for people.
Apparently, baby teeth contain stem cells that
(theoretically) can be used in the same way that cord blood
stem cells can (theoretically) be used.
The cost for the baby teeth storage isn't exactly cheap, but
it's waaaaay cheaper than cord blood storage. And what I
think is great is that there is time for more research to be
done so we can find out if it's really worth the expense or
not. And tooth stem cells supposedly can regenerate tissue,
while cord blood stem cells just regenerate blood (or
something like that).
Of course, the flip side is that if your child was to ''need''
the cells before he/she lost any baby teeth, then you
wouldn't have the cells right away (although, apparently,
you can have a tooth extracted if you ever ''needed'' the cells).
Anyway, it's just another thing to consider if you're on the
fence about cord blood banking and don't make your final
decision in time. There's lots of info on their website:
Toothy mom of two
I am pregnant for the first time and one of the many advertisements which I have
recently received is for umbilical cord storage. According to the advertisement,
the stem cells may be life saving for our child sometime down the road. I think I
have pretty much decided against it since it is expensive and my husband and I
are already struggling in this economy (and the little bit of money we do have
will undoubtedly be taken up with other baby safety items). However, I am
curious if anyone out there has an opinion on it that I am not considering.
It is not good medicine. It is good marketing. World
News with Diane Sawyer did a really good investigative
piece on it May 05 2010 and May 06 2010. If you go to the
world news w diane sawyer website and search for ''blood
cord banking'' you can watch the two segments. My obgyn
pushed it on me too and made me feel like a ''bad mommy''
for not jumping at it. I remember he kept saying ''i don't
get any kickbacks if you do this...'' Yeah Right!
We were exactly the SAME way you are! We asked 4 of our
very close doc friends for their advice--a pediatrician,
GI, neurologist and OB/GYN. They all independantly said
don't waste your money. Each had diff reasons, but the
main one that kept coming up was that IF this technology
does come around it probably won't be for the next 20+
years. And if that was the case then probably anyone's
stem cells would work. So save your money! :) I know the
cord storage sites list some very enticing stuff, and
virtually make you feel like its irresponsible NOT to do
it, but we really trusted our doc friends and didn't do it.
My husband and I recently decided to bank our baby's cord
blood, but we had specific reasons for doing so. My husband
has a disease that is treated with immunosuppressive
medications. The biggest risk from these meds over the long
term is that he will develop leukemia and require a stem
cell transplant. There is a reasonable chance that our son's
cord blood will be a match, so we banked it against the odds
of that happening. That being said, we may have decided to
bank it anyway, as our OB, a researcher as well as a
practicing physician, encouraged us to do so in anticipation
of research developments down the line. It was not a huge
stretch for us financially, however. I don't think we would
have gone into debt to bank the cord blood, especially if we
didn't have any family history of illness. My OB recommended
using one of the two biggest companies in the hopes that
they will stay in business for a long time. CBR is the
biggest company that serves the west coast, and we had a
good experience with them.
glad we did it
bottom line: it's a total waste of money.
don't be suckered by marketing
We banked our son's cord blood last year. I viewed it as
gambling. We placed a very large bet on something we will
probably never need and if we do there is a good chance they
will not work. That said, the technology for these cells is
in its infancy and no one knows what the future holds. They
could be used to repair his heart after a heart attack when
he is 60 or they could be rendered obsolete when stem cell
technology matures and you can make stem cells from a bit of
skin. Both my husband and I are scientists so we are used to
gambling our careers on projects that may or may not work
The decision should depend partly on your financial
priorities. We have great health insurance so the delivery
was free and we decided to scrimp on other baby expenses,
getting almost everything off craigslist. I felt that we had
saved enough money that we could afford the additional
expense. If you have credit card debt or no savings to speak
of, don't do it!
There is a public bank of cord blood cells. If you need this
type of cells in the future it is possible that you will be
able to use the public bank. Currently people of European
descent are well represented in this bank. Another reason I
wanted to bank our son's cells is because he is of mixed
heritage and it may be harder to find a match in the public
bank. If you deliver at Alta Bates it may be possible to
contribute your child's cells to the public bank since they
are one of the few hospitals in the country that collects
cells for the public bank.
If you decide to do it, you may want to consider one of the
larger companies that has been around for awhile. Although I
feel they overcharge for the service they provide, you need
to consider that you want a company that will still be
around when you need the cells. We considered Viacord, CBR
and Stemcyte for this reason. Alternatively, since it is a
gamble anyway why not pay less and gamble on one of the
My husband and I are expecting our first child in early
March. At my last OB appointment, I was given brochures on
cord blood banking. I'm looking for opinions and others'
experience with cord blood banking...a good idea or a waste
of money? Thanks.
There is already excellent advice in the archives,
particularly from the pediatrician. I do think the cord
blood companies are ''banking'' on parents' paranoia. One
thing to consider is that in the very, very rare chance
your child might need that blood someday, chances are he
will be too big and there won't be enough cord blood for a
transplant. Also, leukemia is by far the most common
childhood cancer, but if that's what your child gets, the
cord blood is useless, as it most likely contains leukemia
genes as well. The other diseases that the cord blood
companies claim are treatable by cord blood transplant are
still in the experimental stages. In your shoes, what I
would try to do is donate the cord blood (this is easier
said than done, however), then if your child should ever
need it, there is a decent chance it would still be
I asked my OB about this issue earlier this year about the
same issue, since companies market cord blood banking
pretty aggressively. Its also not inexpensive.
Our OB recommended without hestition to NOT do it. Unless
you have a known, rare condition, its a waste of money and
futhermore the cord blood would be used for a sibling, not
your first child.
There are public cord blood banks (a much better model, in
my opinion) that you can donate to and could also access
(not marketed of course!). Because we are caucasian,
however, we were told that they didn't need any more
donations of cord blood. However if you are a minority
group, there is a need for more cord blood and you could
I think its kind of a scam. I say, support the public model
Our pediatrician gave us this advice and I'll give it to you: If you
can afford it, go
for it. It is a one-time deal (being able to bank that blood) and
chances are slim that your child will ever need it, research is ongoing
list of treatable diseases is growing. It is expensive, but in the off
you end up needing it, it will be priceless.
I looked into it and concluded it was a semi-scam. My advice:
save your money for something your child may really need.
We opted to bank the blood, but for a very specific reason.
At the time, my sister was just in remission from Hodgkins
and there was a decent chance that there would be a match if
she needed it. Also, my husband's brother has childhood
diabetes and again, a decent chance of a match if needed.
We figured that if either of our siblings needed it and
there was a match it would have been the cheapest thing we
ever did. We now have two kids and banked the cord blood
for both of them. I pray we never need it, but if we do (or
my sister or brother-in-law does), it is there.
We looked at it as another form of ''insurance'' though the
cost was not an issue for us and if it were and/or we didn't
have both a sister and a brother who might need it; not sure
we would have done it.
Loves my sister
What are new and expectant moms doing these days with banking
cord blood? The archives are a bit dated. I'd like to hear a
broad range of responses... from those that did bank the
baby's cord blood, which company did you choose and why? Does
your family have a history of certain illnesses (leukemia,
anemia, etc)? For those that looked into it, if you opted not
to do it, why not? Cost? Technology?
I'm interested in donating my baby's cord blood too.
Donor Dot Mom
We banked our daughter's cord blood with CBR (cord blood registries). We
been happy with the company - they were very professional in picking up
We haven't had to use it, so I can't comment on that. My OB recommended
profitable company, because you want them to be in business 10-20 years
the road. CBR seems to be the preeminent company.
We don't have a family history of diseases currently treatable by cord
blood. But we
believe that the probability is high of future research leading to cures
diseases. People we know in these areas of research all highly
banking the cord blood. It's definitely expensive (and we're students),
but it's a form
at Alta Bates I donated mine. It will be used for stem cell
transplants, but if not needed for that, then for research.
This was in the fall, I don't know if the program is currently
still running. I was thrilled not to let it go to waste.
We banked our son's cord blood with Cryo-cell (http://cryo-
cell.com/) because this company is a non-profit and was cheaper
than many others. We consider it an insurance policy with the
hope that someday, these stem cells will help our son (or his
future sibling) should they need them. We also have great hope
for stem cell research (we have a scientist friend who works in
that field and has great hope for it). We hope to have another
kid in a year and will bank that child's cord blood too. It's
no guarantee, but we would hate to need it in the future and not
thought about banking our 2nd baby's cord blood but heard a
report on NPR about how it's highly unlikely to ever be used by
our child. (my and my husband's families are healthy, no diseases
or anything we know of). So I decided to donate it. If you are
birthing at Alta Bates they have something set up with Children's
Hospital. I believe they have a person pretty much there the
whole time in Labor and Delivery and she comes to you when you
first check in and asks if you want to donate. It's pretty easy,
but lots and lots of paperwork, signatures etc. The only sad part
for me was after dealing with this woman for literally 4 days
(from the time I went in and had my pre-op for my c-section, to
the time I left 3 days later) she ended up telling me the only
way my donated blood would ever get used for any child would be
if there was absolutely no other blood available. You see, they
ask you about 4 million questions, and if you meet certain
criteria your blood doesn't make the grade. I am very healthy, I
never even get the flu, but I lived in Europe in the 1980's,
therefore my blood could possibly be tainted 20 years later
with....... go ahead and take a guess...........................
mad cow disease mooo good luck
I'm a pediatrician who has had several families ask me about
cord blood banking. I'd like to clear up the notion that cord
blood banking is a kind a ''biological insurance'' for your unborn
child. Many parents believe (and unfortunately many banking
companies would have them believe) that if their unborn child
should later in life develop leukemia or some other life
threatening condition, his own stem cells could be used for a
curative transplant. In fact, cord blood would never be used for
an autologous (to yourself) transplant because the mutation
which eventually led to the disease in question is present in
these stem cells. A person needing a stem cell transplant would
look to a sibling or unrelated donor. The AAP has recently
published a policy statement regarding cord blood banking,
recommending it only in the specific case in which an older
sibling has a known condition in which a stem cell transplant
may be needed. If you are one of these families, you probably
already know that Children's Hospital Oakland provides free cord
blood banking. If you are not such a family, they will also bank
your cord blood for free, but will treat it as a donation. If
you need it for a sibling or relative in the future you can use
it if it's still there, but it won't be held for you if it's
needed for someone else. If knowing all this, you still decide
that you'd like to privately bank your infant's cord blood,
perhaps on the chance that he might save a sibling who develops
a need for a transplant or perhaps thinking that someday in the
future our technology might be such that autologous transplants
are more common, then do your homework on the company you are
using. Collection amounts, transport and processing times,
storage conditions are widely variable amongst the different
banking companies and really make a difference in whether or not
the sample will ever be usable. Believe it or not there are
families out there paying alot of money to preserve a cord blood
sample that is not even viable - either not enough cells
collected or not stored at the correct temperature, etc. I
personally feel that the private cord blood banking industry is
preying upon a parent's fear of the unknown and taking
adavantage of our intense deisre to protect our infant from
whatever harm awaits. I would encourage anyone interested in
banking cord blood to consider donating to the Children's
Hospital Oakland cord blood bank (or at least use the private
bank that Children's uses to store their samples).
Hi. This is in response to older posting in April 2007: Did you
bank your baby's cord blood? Hereís what I learned from my own
experience. I ended up using Family Cord Blood Services,
www.FamilyCordBloodServices.com, because they were here in
California and their cost was a lot more reasonable than either
Viacord or CBR. Everything I researched about Family Cord Blood
Services came up equal to Viacord and CBR, just not as well
known. It just felt a lot more personal going with a private
company who's owned by doctors rather than a big corporation.
They have all the licensing and accreditations and their lab and
storage and everything is all in the same location. It is
important for all the licensing and endorsements because you do
want a lab that is safe and practicing along with the industry
standards. We went with a private bank so that our babyís cord
blood is just for us. If we have more kids down the road, we may
donate but Iím hearing from friends that itís not so easy to do.
It is important for parents that the bank they choose have such
affiliations so that they know that company will be keeping up
with industry standards and regulations as the field advances.
With private companies, your collected cord blood is only for use
by your family alone. With public banking, you are given the best
match-up and there is no guarantee that if you needed it, yours
would be available to you. Hope this helps!
Can anyone recommend or not recommend a cord blood storage company? I am expecting in
late November and am just starting to read about the different companies and services.
Please respond if you've had either a great or terrible experience with any of the cord
blood storage companies. Thank you
We used Cord Blood Registries for our baby. I've been happy with them, although
truthfully, you can't really assess a cord banking company until, God forbid, you
need the cord blood back. But they were very professional and received and
processed our cord blood with no problems. My obstetrician made the point that it's
important to use a large, profitable company because you don't want them to go out
of business and sell off your baby's cord blood
I too looked into this when I was about to have my baby. I
believe Children's will bank cord blood for free for a family
who already has a child that may need the cord blood. I do not
know if you can donate the cord blood to them to use as a match
for a child that needs it. If you bank your own child's cord
blood, you are paying a private company who may or may not be
around in 10 years to keep the cord blood against the remote
chance that your child would end up with Leukemia, etc. From
what I read, it sounded like these private companies might be a
scam at worst, and at best they might or might not have the
technology to preserve the cord blood for enough time to make a
difference, but you can't know whether they do or not. I
thought their sales pitch was really smooth without much real
We've been really happy with Cryo-Cell. http://cryo-
cell.com/index.asp We banked our son's blood there and we'll
bank his sibling's blood when that time comes. I believe they
are non-profit (not sure about this though), so that's why they
cost less than the other companies. I haven't had to retrieve
the sample so I can't tell you about that. If you use their
services, ask someone who is a current client because we often
get coupons to give to new customers where you can save some
Does anyone have recent experience with
cord blood banking? The more we look the more confused we get.
Viacord and Cord Blood Registry appear to be the most well-
known, but are also the most expensive. Is there any reason
that we shouldn't go with someone cheaper, like, say Cryo-
cell? Is there any reason to use someone who is licensed by
PharmaStem or endorsed by the American Association of Blood
Banking? Is there any difference between private and public
companies? Thanks for helping us muddle through this.
I got excited about it but then I talked to some experts about it and I
now think it is a waste of money. Cord blood is useful in so few
instances and by the time I may need it, the technology might have very
well changed meaning that cord blood will not be our only option for
treatment. Also, who is to say that the cord blood bank is still going
to be around when I may need it.
We had a baby last August and used Cryocell and were very happy with the
process and the price. I think they are non-profit so that's why they
are so much cheaper than the others. I recommend it. If you can, find
a friend who used them before as we get coupons to give out so you can
save a little (not much) on the initial price.
I come down on the side of giving the baby all the blood he/she
needs at the time of birth. That is, don't bank it for
later... Here are some articles that talk about early cord
clamping and possible ramifications.. hope this helps with
Can anyone recommend a blood cord banking company to
I've looked at the website, and there is a bit of information
about deciding whether to bank or not, about public v. private
banking, but not much information about a good place to do
private banking it if you decide to do it.
They seem to vary in price a lot ($315 to $1500+). I've read
several brochures, but I still don't know why a $1500+ one
(such as ViaCord) would be better than a $315 one ( such
Is a local company better than one from out-of-state? Are
some more stable (less likely to go out of business)?
Any recommendations from parents who have done blood
cord banking (or just looked into it) would be very welcome.
I used Cord Blood Registry, http://www.cordblood.com/index.asp. They call
themselves the Gold Standard. I have nothing to compare it to, and my
experience with them was positive. It was rather expensive, I think the
total cost was around $1500, and there's a yearly storage fee
I used Viacord one year ago when I delivered my third child. It
was very costly at $1500 but I thought that I would regret not
doing this if anything happened later in life and we needed this
cord blood. I chose Viacord over the local company because
Viacord came to the hospital and picked up the blood and
delivered it to the Viacord blood bank. Delivering at the
holidays would make it difficult for us to package the blood and
deliver it ourselves. As well, they have had successful
transplants using their stored blood. It was not an easy
process. I delivered at John Muir and they were reluctant to
draw the blood because they said they were too busy. I quickly
explained that I paid $1500 for this draw and then they did it.
However, the nurse had someone from another department draw the
blood. So, my recommendation is that you ask if your doctor and
hospital are willing to do thisin advance. My doctor was fine
with it and had to sign some papers before I delivered. The last
item is that Viacord was not as easy to do business with as they
ahd claimed. They said they would pick up the blood within two
hours of the draw and that didn't happen. This made me very
nervous and I had my husband call several times. They finally
came very late in the evening...close to midnight. I couldn't
relax or sleep until they picked up the package. In the end I am
glad I did it and told Viacord that they needed to refine their
procedures for pick up.
I used Cryo-Cell for storing my older daughter's cord blood
because of the low price. I would have used them for my new
baby but she was unexpectedly born at home and we were unable to
collect her cord blood. I was quite upset about this because we
have a history of leukemia on both sides of our family but was
reassured by a pediatric oncologist friend that I shouldn't
worry about it. The explanation was a little more complicated
than I feel I can communicate as a lay person, but basically she
felt that there was only one situation in which we would need it
and that would be if our daughter were to develop a highly
aggressive form of cancer and she were to need a bone marrow
transplant immediately and no donor could be found. Evidently,
it may be more effective to do a transplant not using your own
cells. In terms of future uses, she felt that the other
sources of stem cells would also be viable. That being said, it
certainly doesn't hurt to do it, it's just whether or not you
feel it's worth spending the money on it. Personally, I do and
I would store my younger daughter's cord blood if given the
opportunity, especially as Cryo-Cell does charge so much less.
They say they are able to do this because they are a non-
profit. I have no idea if they are any better or worse than the
If anybody who is expert on this has found fault with my
understanding of the use of cord blood storage, please feel free
to correct me.
About three years ago, I researched cord blood banking
options. Initially, I was only aware of Cord Blood Registry, a
company on the SF Peninsula. It turned out to be one of the most expensive.
Ultimately, we used Cryo Cell International of Clearwater, FL. It
is a publicly traded company that used the University of Arizona's facility
that is now used by Cord Blood Registry before Cord Blood Registry enticed
the lab to break its contract. Cry Cell won a lawsuit in SF Superior Court
and used the money to open its own facility in Clearwater, FL.
Therefore, it does not need to rely upon contracts with independent
facilities. Because it is a publicly traded company with other lines to
its business, it appears more financially viable than other companies out
there. I spoke with Cryo Cell's principals and asked about the difference
in cost between this company and others. The people told me that they were
looking for volume and not spending lots of money on marketing. We paid
approximately $250 up front and pay $50 annually. The annual price is
guaranteed by contract to remain the same. Cryo Cell also seemed to have
more services available for fewer costs in the event that the donor ever
to access the cells.
Back in early 2000, none of the companies had actually used the
samples stored for the actual donor. They only had anecdotes about the use
of the cells for siblings in need. They were very promising (of course)
about future uses if necessary and about the participation in their
programs by health care professionals.
My father actually owns an umbilical cord blood bank, the
California Cryobank. I had the experience of storing my cord
blood with a company immediately prior to my father opening the
stem cell branch of his cryobank (California Cryobank is the
largest sperm bank in the country and was established in 1978 so
their experience in storing frozen tissue is vast.) The bank
that I stored my cordblood with in 1996 was Viacord and they
were incredible about marketing. The follow through was amazing
and it was great - I took notes for my father's bank about how
this was the way to go - until I gave birth. Thereafter, it all
fell apart. The staff at Viacord must have called me in the
post-delivery room 15 times in one afternoon trying to
coordinate picking up the product. Which they finally did but
it was awful and intrusive. Later, when California Cryobank was
up and running, I wanted to ship the blood to my father's bank
(his yearly cost is $75 which was less but obviously for me it
was free) and I kid you not, it took them seven months to ship
it. The reason? Viacord is a marketing company which is
completely separate from the storage facilities so they have no
connection with the day to day operations and logistics.
I of course am biased and want to recommend the California
Cryobank which will store in their own facilities (one in
Stanford, one in Los Angeles and one in Boston), but do check
around. I know that the National Cord Blood Registry is good
but I do not know if they are in control of their own sites. If
you contact the cryobank they will send you some infomraiton
including a nice video with me and my daughter in it. It's
pretty informative and you can perhaps use that as your base.
Their number is (800) 400-3430 or URL http://www.cryobank.com/.
Good luck and this is a very wise thing to do.
Not sure if anyone has any experience with this, but I am
interested in donating the cord blood, or should I say my son's.
Specifically I would like to donate to an organization that
researches spinal cord injuries, treatments. A friend of mine
was in a motorcyle accident and suffered a spinal cord injury. I
will be delievering at Kaiser Oakland. Thank you!
I looked into this about 1.5 years ago when my son was about to
be born, and I was told that there used to be a donation program
at Alta Bates (where I delivered) but it doesn't exist anymore
(I think due to funding). I called the Red Cross and Children's
Hospital. So unless things have changed, it is pretty unlikely
that you will be able to do it, which I think is a REAL shame.
We donated our son's cord blood to a company called Cryo Bank
International in Florida. It will either be used for research or
be banked and used by any child in need who is a match. If you
contact them, they will send you an information package with all
of their options. It was the only place in the country that we
could find to accept a donation when our son was born 16 months
ago. They sent a collection kit for our doctor to use and they
had Fed Ex come pick the package up at the hospital within hours
of our son being born. Several people told us Children's
Hospital in Oakland had a donation program, but at that time
they were not taking any donations. But you could also give them
a call and see if they are collecting again. Good for you for
wanting to donate!
i don't think there are too many organizations out here where you can
donate cord blood (even the redcross has stopped accepting it unless
you live in oregan or washintong state, i think...). but, Cryobanks
International is a major organization that does accept donations.
we had a kit from them and were ready to use it for our homebirth baby
but alas, we did a waterbirth and there were too many things on my
mind by the time we should've or could've done the cord blood donation.
you should check them out. they're very organized and they'll give you
the kit to use, for use in the hospital or at home or at a birthing center.
270 S. Northlake Blvd
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Toll Free: 800-869-8608
E-mail: clientservices at cryo-intl.com
We recently went through this with the birth of our baby girl -
I have a friend who underwent a bone marrow transplant several
years ago (before the stem cell option existed), so I wanted to
donate to the National Marrow Donor Program registry.
Unfortunately, most hospitals don't actively participate in
cord blood collection, and most cord blood banks are designed
for private collection (you pay to have the cord blood stored
for your own use). Apparently it's rather delicate stuff and
expensive to collect/store/use - plus, surprisingly, the
patient need isn't that great (different story for research).
We found only one company that accepts public donations of cord
blood from anywhere in the United States - Cryobanks
International. I couldn't find out very much information about
how they distribute the cord blood - I'm sure they turn a tidy
profit - but I figured it was better to make it available to
someone in need even with a mercenary middleman. I would love
to hear of anyone who donated to a research program.
Anyway, the Cryobanks donation procedure is simple and free -
you fill out a bunch of forms (preferaby before your 35th week
of pregnancy, but if you miss that date, as I did, they can do
an expedited registration) and they send you a kit, which has
all the instructions for your care provider. Immediately after
the cord blood is collected, you call a special 800# and FedEx
the package back to their lab. I delivered at Kaiser Walnut
Creek and the staff handled it exceptionally (you have to tell
each new shift about it, though).
Anyway - here are some links that might be helpful:
the National Marrow Donor Program Web site
and the Cryobanks International Web site
Regarding Cordblood Registry-
Ladies,there is a local company by the name of cordblood
I wished I had stored my Son's umbilical cord as it would have
been a treatment option for him post a traumatic birth/ stroke.
Please check out their site, they are an outstanding company.
My husband and I are expecting our first child in the next 3
weeks or so, and are interested in learning more about saving
Stem Cells from her umbilical cord. I'm very high risk for
breast cancer (all over my maternal family), and my mother had a
stem cell transplant for breast cancer treatment a few years
ago. Seems like it might be worth the expense for us to keep
some stem cells just in case. I'm wondering...
- Where are some good resources for information about the
benefits of saving stem cells?
- What is the price range?
- How do I go about making this happen? I'm assuming I need to
arrange this stuff in advance!
- About other people's experiences with saving stem cells
Many Thanks, Julie
Those of us who do bank our children's cord blood usually have
family history reasons for doing so (in my case, losing my first
daughter to childhood cancer.) There was a very good article in
the Wall Street Journal about it a few months ago. I will email
you a link to that story if you contact me directly. That
article recommended the following website, unaffiliated with any
cord blood banks, as a source of information about cord blood
Best of luck to you.
I banked my baby's cord blood because my brother has malignant
melanoma. Although there's nothing he can do with them right now,
in the future there might be, which is what motivated me to do it.
We used Cord Blood Registry http://www.cordblood.com/. Their
website can answer all of your questions about the reasons, the
advantages, the process, etc. I think we ended up spending about
$1500 total, and there's a $100/year fee. As far as I'm concerned, if
you can afford the fee there's absolutely no reason not to do it. You
never know what kind of medical advances will be made in 30 years.
Also, if my baby ever needs a transfusion, I can use it for him and
not worry about the source of the blood.
You do need to arrange it in advance, but I'm not sure that you'll
have enough time at this point, with only 3 weeks left. From what
I can remember, they needed to have a deposit at least 30 days in
advance, but there's also an application process that involves you
filling out forms, getting your OB's signature, I think some prenatal
blood work, and I don't think 3 weeks is enough time. But you
should definitelly contact them, just in case. As for my experience,
it was a pretty painless process, I had to bring a kit with me and
give it to the hospital staff, and then you have to mail it off right
away! it's kind of hard to have to remember details like that when
you're having a baby, but I put my husband in charge of it and he
took care of it. I do remember him having to mention the kit
multiple times so that the staff wouldn't forget about it, but I was in
labor for 30 hours and went through 5 labor nurses, so maybe he
just told each new one as they came on. But the doctors knew
exactly what to do with it and it all worked out. Feel free to contact
me directly if you have any more questions. Good luck!
We also decided to do cord blood storage because my husband and
I both have a history of childhood and adult leukemia in our
families. The most inexpensive option at the time my daughter
was born in 1999 was through Cryo-Cell International. I believe
we paid something like $300 for the collection kit, overnight
special handling express shipping charges, and then $50 per year
for the storage. It's important to keep in mind that at the time
we collected my daughter's cord blood, they weren't guaranteeing
the viability of the sample past age 18, i.e. this hasn't been
around long enough for them to know how long a sample is good
for. Perhaps I'm remembering wrong or this has changed.
Good luck deciding and have a great birth.
I know that the person writing in asked about banking their own
child's stem cells, however, I just wanted to put in my two
cents worth about donating the blood from your umbilical cord in
the name of research. The only hospitals in the state of
California that currently take donations are Alta Bates in
Berkeley and another hospital in southern california (I don't
remember which one). It's a really easy procedure and it
doesn't cost you a thing. Basically, you just contact the
American Red Cross Blood collection program located at Alta
Bates. You answer some questions, they take the umbilical cord
at the time of birth, and after you give birth you have to give
a bit of blood so that they can test it to make sure that they
can use the blood in their programs. The stem cells from your
umbilical cord could further someone's research or could save
someone's life. If you aren't thinking about saving your own
umbilical cord in one of the banks, I highly recommend donating
we'd like to find more information about cord blood donation locally,
and aren't getting too far via google or the parents website. If
anyone has more information or experience, please share it! We don't
want to join a registry and pay exorbitant fees, we just want to make
sure the cord blood is not wasted after our baby is delivered (either
Alta Bates or Kaiser WC).
I wanted to arrange for a donation also, but without a lot of hullabaloo
and costs...I asked my OB at Kaiser WC (in May of 2000) and she said that
they weren't set up to do that but that there are groups out there who will
do it for a fee...we did not have the energy to follow up with that, but
just wanted to donate if it was part of the usual procedures.
I just came across an old "Dear Abby" column on cord blood donation.
The (national?) phone number and URL are 888-267-3256, www.cordblood.com.
They could probably connect you with the local program.
If you want to donate cord blood and are delivering at Alta Bates you can
call the Alta Bates Red Cross Cord Blood center at 204-3621
I'd like to know whether you stored your child's cord blood. What were your
reasons why or why not? What company did you use? Also, has anyone who
delivered at Alta Bates donated cord blood? If so, how?
We definitely banked our baby's cord blood and are paying for its storage. We
want to be sure that our baby has a supply of stem cells that are his own
perfect match for the future. There are tremendous advances going on now in the
area of stem cell research. Cord blood is not the same as embryonic stem cells,
or adult stem cells. But as research progresses in those fields, scientists are
learning how to induce stem cells to take on different roles. Although current
marketing literature from the private cord blood banks state that it is
unlikely that an individual will need their own banked blood, my husband and I
believe that as the uses of stem cells increase, the possible needs for the
individual expand also. For example, stem cells are not currently a treatment
for diabetes. However, researchers have now been able to get
bone-marrow-derived stem cells to develop as insulin-producing cells. It is
impossible to say how many diseases could possibly be treated with stem cells
in ten or twenty years. I think that we did a thoughtful study of this field,
as both my husband and myself have doctorates in molecular and developmental
biology. There are many arguments against privately banking cord blood. One
could say that as research progresses, maybe they will be able to use cells
that aren't a perfect match, or that doctors will be able to use adult stem
cells that they harvest at the time of need from a person's bone marrow, or
skin, or fat. There are also arguments that if more people donated to the
public banks, there would be no need for private banking. If our son needs his
own cord blood, it will be a serious situation and the blood could well save
his life. I could not think of a more important gift we could give him than to
preserve this resource. We used Viacord and I delivered at Alta Bates. Alta
Bates was not very helpful about the collection--I would definitely have
someone (doula, family member, or friend) really keep on top of that as you and
your partner will be busy.
I did store my son's cord blood. At the time I was pregnant with him, my
greatest fear was that my child would get a fatal disease and for some
reason at the time I was focused on childhood leukemia. Bone marrow
transplants are a last-ditch effort to cure leukemia, and the problem with
them is imperfect tissue match, but with one's own stem cells from the cord
blood, the match is (of course) perfect -- and thus there is no chance of
rejection. So this "insurance" that my child wouldn't die of leukemia was
the first reason I did it, but it turns out that stem cells also act as
insurance against dying from a number of other diseases, mostly cancers,
and research uncovers new uses for stem cells all the time. A side
benefit, which is nice, is that the mother (but not the father for some
reason) has a 50% chance of a tissue match with a child's stem cells, so
storing cord blood can potentially provide some insurance for her too!
Siblings also have a good chance of a match but I don't know the exact
I stored at a place called the Cord Blood Registry, and chose it for no
other reason than that a friend of mine had also done it there, and since
he was a doctor I figured he'd chosen a good one. I don't know the number,
but it's probably easy to find. If you like, email me and I will get the
number to you. Also I suspect that the storage facilities are more or less
I birthed at Alta Bates, and the midwife took the blood. It's a very easy
procedure, and I'm pretty sure generally the person delivering your baby
does it. You have to Fed Ex the blood right away, you have 24 hours or
something to get it there or else the cells will die. This is actually
fairly stressful. I suggest assigning someone EXTREMELY RELIABLE to do
this. My person bowed out at the last second and we were scrambling to
find someone to do it. Everything turned out fine though.
My last piece of advice is to register quite a bit in advance -- I think I
did it a month or so before my due-date and I had to pay extra. It's very
expensive up front (about $1000) but only $100 each year on your child's
birthday. And once you pay that initial fee, you don't pay it again for
additional children. I figure $100 a year for this peace of mind is a
Good luck with your decision,
I chose to have my daughter's cord blood stored
because there is a history of leukemia in both my and
my husband's families. I also chose to do it because
I have worked in medical settings where I saw children
who needed a life-saving bone marrow transplant who
weren't finding appropriate matches. Also, there is
so much more to learn about stem-cell usage that there
may be more uses for the cord blood then we even know
That being said, if I didn't have the family history
of leukemia, I might have decided to donate the cord
blood rather than store it. The chances of your child
actually needing to use the cord blood are pretty slim
while if you donate it, you may be able to save
someone's life who needs the cord blood now.
Additionally, I was told that the blood would probably
still be viable until my child is around 18 but after
that, they could not say. We used Cryo-Cell in
Florida as the company to store our daughter's cord
blood as their rates were significantly cheaper than
their competitors at that time. I don't remember the
initial fee - I believe it was a couple of hundred
dollars and we now pay $50 anually for storage.
Good luck with your decision.
Has anyone banked their child's cord blood? What bank did you use?
How did the hospital deal with this, (which hospital)? How was the
As an expectant parent (due 7/3) I've recently been inundated with dubious mailings
from cord-cell blood banks. It's got me thinking--is this whole banking thing a
money-making scam? And alternately, are there any worthy places locally to donate
cord cell blood? I heard something about Children's Hospital of Oakland accepting
donations. Does anyone have any experience with this? My OB was so unfamiliar with
the concept that she actually asked me to share with her any info I gather myself. Thanks
for your advice.
This is for the person with questions about cord blood banking. I did some research
on it and concluded that private storage was a rip-off for the average baby. It is
very expensive, your child has an extremely rare chance
of developing the type of serious illness that requires cord blood, and even if he/she
did, you might not be able to use the cord blood because it could contain the
disease your child later developed! The only time you could use
the cord blood is if another one of your children got sick and needed his/her
sibling's cord blood for a transplant. And if that happened, there are national cord
blood banks that try to find matches for sick children. All of that pertains to the
private blood banks. I think public cord blood donation is an excellent service, but
unfortunately it is done in only a few cities. Children's Hospital in Oakland has
started it on a small scale, but I believe it is geared at people of color. There is a
shortage of cord blood from minorities throughout the country and Children's wants
to serve as a national repository. Good luck in your decision.
We banked our son's cord blood. There is a web site that explains the
program it is: . I found this to be the
least expensive company that handles cord blood. It requires a lot on
your part though. You are responsible for making sure the Dr/hospital is
aware of the procedures (they send you a kit with very detailed
instructions). You are also responsible for shipping the contents out
after they are collected. You have either 24 or 48 hours to do this and
it's generally the last thing you want to think about after having a
baby. It's best to assign someone else the responsibility for shipping
it so you don't' have to worry about it. The hospital I delivered at is
out of the area and they were unfamiliar with handling cord blood
banking, but they did fine.
We banked our child's cord blood in August 1999.
I called California Cryobank (CC), and asked if they did it and how much
it cost. I did call one other place that did it, but they were out of
state, and were not cheaper. We already had an account with CC
(husband's frozen semen, saved because of testicular cancer), so they
gave us a 10% discount. CC is a
reliable company. The total cost is $1100 plus a $85 annual storage
charge after the first year.
First, you have to fill out some forms. It's best to do this far in
advance. (I waited until about six weeks before my due date, and rush
fees make this more expensive.) I got these forms by calling them, but
they are also available on the CC web site: <
http://www.cryobank.com/cord.html> There is a health questionnaire for
the mother, but even though I had to answer yes to some of the questions,
they were still willing to bank the cord blood. (I was afraid at the
time that this questionnaire would eliminate me.)
Your doctor must agree to do this. S/he also fills out one of these
forms. Our doctor's (Dr. Eric Spitzberg) attitude was that it was OK
with him, but he thought the whole process was unecessary, which we hope
will be the case. (CC will also send your doctor a video about the
process. Mine did inform me that
he watched it.)
Then you send them a deposit, and they send you a collection kit (which
comes in a medium size cardboard box.) The collection kit has all the
information for the doctors, and how to send it in. You must remember to
bring the kit to the
Here's what happened at the hospital (Alta Bates.) We were at the
hospital for a little while getting settled in, and my husband had
retrieved the cord blood kit from the car. (My suggestion: don't leave
it behind in case things start to
happen quickly.) At about 7:45, they checked me for the first time,
discovered I was at 7-8 centimeters, and the baby was breech (surprise.)
So I was then rushed to the C-section room within about 10 minutes. We
told the doctor on call (Dr. Corey, who I had never met before) about the
cord blood kit, and he said he had never done one, but was willing to do
it. So then I had the C-section, and I suppose they did whatever the
collection kit said. It's apparently not very complicated. I couldn't
see, and my husband refused to watch (He just looked at my face.)
After they had finished the C-section, we went to the recovery room. They
had done the collection, but somehow we had lost the box the stuff was
supposed to go in. We sent a nurse to look for it, but we never found
the box which had the address on it, for example. So we called CC (They
have someone on call at all
times.), and they said we could put it in another box. We asked for a
box at the hospital, but this difficult to get. Finally we found
something. (My suggestion: keep careful track of everything CC sends
you.) We called the courier service, and waited. (CC has some special
courier service for this.) Within an hour or so, the courier showed up,
and took the box away.
Because we were concerned over the box mix up, and because Dr. Corey (who
seemed like a good doctor and was perfectly nice, but I only talked to
him for about 3 minutes before the C-section, and haven't ever seen him
since) had never done
cord blood collection before, I was calling CC every few hours to see if
the cord blood had arrived, and whether everything was OK. It did
arrive, and everything was OK.
Why we did this: Well, first my parents offered to pay for it.
Secondly, I had an extremely difficult pregnancy, and was totally
paranoid about health issues at that point. So I was trying to do
everything I could think of. On a societal level, this is an expensive
process that will only be useful something
like one in a million times. If I were an insurance company, I would
probably refuse to cover it. But as an individual, I feel that this is a
kind of catastrophic health insurance I want my daughter to have. I
would do it again if we are lucky enough to have another child.
We used Cord Blood Registry.
1-888-267-3256. They are expensive, but we didn't know
of anybody else at the time. We also wanted somebody
that may stick around. The procedure was easy. We
gave the instructions from the kit to our doctor (Dr.
Sakamoto) prior to delivery. Everybody in his group
has collected before and wasn't concerned about it.
We brought the kit to the hospital, Alta Bates, and
reminded them and the delivering doctor that we were
collecting. The procedure was simple. The trick in
the whole matter is getting the collection back to the
registry in a timely manner. Because we didn't want
to worry about rushing to a FedEx office, we had their
recommended courier pick the sample up at the
hospital. That was much less stressful. The only
glitch was they wanted some paper work filled out when
we called them and we had to find a fax machine.
(Alta Bates was helpful in that regard.) That
paperwork should have been done ahead of time, so be
sure to ask and insist on getting stuff. We asked,
but didn't get it, so ask a couple of times. Good luck.
[Editor] The following is a letter received in the Parents mailbox
The Umbilical Cord Blood Education Alliance is a non-profit organization
providing a public service to help educate expectant parents, health care
providers, and the general public about cord blood. We provide unbiased and
competent information about all options for cord blood (discard, donate, or
privately bank) to present balanced education about cord blood and hematopoietic
You may view our new brochure, "Making An Informed Decision For Your Baby's Cord
Blood" at this link;
http://www.gins.net/ucbea/pdf/ (skip parent files, click "cover" and "inside" of
brochure). This brochure is a free download available to anyone who visits the
UCBEA website. Your organization may also print as many brochures as you like to
help those who wish to learn about cord blood.
The UCBEA website will launch in the next 30 days at www.CordBloodEducation.org.
Please feel free to contact the UCBEA if you would like to learn more about our
organization, literature, or request our assistance for special programs.
Umbilical Cord Blood Education Alliance
shankennedy AT comcast DOT net
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