SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



Your Baby's Umbilical Cord: Cord Banking

Expecting parents are faced with many important decisions before their baby is born. These include the basics, such as naming the baby, which pediatrician to go to, and breastfeeding or formula feeding. Now you add in whether daycare is need and where to go and how long to be out of work, and many parents donít even consider cord banking on the top priority list or think about it until it is too late.

Cord banking is a hot topic these days. You see the commercials and ads in the magazines at the doctorís office, but the connection never quite make it. Try to think about it, it could save your childís life. You never know if your child will develop some disease or need this. Having it might be the best medicine money can buy. It doesn't hurt to take a baby's umbilical cord blood and it will in fact be thrown away anyway. You wouldn't think that there would be a big issue with cord blood banking. What parent wouldn't want to do everything that they could to make sure that their baby grows up to be healthy and prepared for what ever happens in their life? But the problem is not with the cord banking as much as the money involved. If you donate you childís cord blood, it is free, but anyone can take your childís blood and there might not be any if he or she needs it. If you keep it for private use only, it is insanely expensive and to buy the free blood of someone else is, too. So why bother putting this on the to-do list when it just gives you a headache?

In every umbilical cord, the blood contains stem cells that can become any type of cell in the human body. They have no pre-destination and can save people from thousands of diseases, including leukemia, sickle cell disease, and many other various metabolic and genetic disorders. People needing this type of stem cell therapy can either use their own, a siblingís, or matched unrelated personís cord blood to save their life. For some diseases and disorders, you would have to use the blood of a sibling or unknown person, because the disease could be in the blood as in leukemia. Many parents like the private method to ensure that if need for any of their children it is available, but this can be costly.

Also if you canít spend the money on private use, you can donate your childís cord blood to the rest of the population. If more parents donated the cord blood, private places couldnít charge so much to store it and it wouldnít cost a child his parents saving or his life to get it. So one would think this would be a more common practice, however it isnít. Parents are faced with it at birth and have never really paid close enough attention to it to know what is in the best interest of all people.

Many new parents feel the $600 to $1000 it costs is too much to spend. They just let it be discarded, not knowing that it is free to donate, and if everyone donated, then these stem cells would be more available to the public and corporations couldnít charge as much. Plus, if you did pay all that money and your child or children never use it, you now will end up donating the blood anyway and spent needless amounts of money. If you go ahead and donate the cord blood to the public and your child does develop a disease that can be cured this way, you can use it if it is still available or someone elseís who is a match. Either way you will have to pay for the blood, better to pay if you need it and save your self thousands that could turn around and save your child anyway.

So how it stands today is every expectant parent faces a tough and irreversible choice: Should you bank your newborn child's cord blood? If you are like most expectant parents, you are perhaps overwhelmed and confused by the choice. On one hand you receive tons of marketing from the cord blood companies pointing out the important benefits of blood banking. On the other hand, you've heard that there is limited medical value to storing your child's cord blood and the costs are very high. If everyone just donated, this life saving blood could available to all for a lot less money.

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