How To Donate Cord Blood & How To Store Privately

How To Donate Cord Blood & How To Store Privately
You have probably heard that donating blood saves lives, right? In fact, maybe you have even given blood as a healthy adult so you can help someone in need down the line. But did you know that you have the option to donate your baby’s cord blood to potentially save someone’s life in the future? However, the process is a little bit different and there is only one opportunity to collect this type of donation. Instead of a typical draw, this blood can only be collected once in a person’s life–at the time of their birth. We, of course, are referring to cord blood, the nutrient-rich and contaminant-free blood found in the umbilical cord and placenta of a newborn child. What makes it so special compared to normal blood is the availability of stem cells found within, which have proven useful for treating various types of blood-related diseases and cancers. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning how to donate cord blood, there are a few things you should learn first.

How Is Cord Blood Collected?

The process of collecting cord blood is fairly simple. After giving birth, a medical staff member will cut and clamp the umbilical cord and draw the blood with a needle into a bag. However, not all hospitals utilize cord blood collecting services and might require prior authorization and planning with a specially trained doctor for it to be done. There is still ongoing legislation in some states for funding to support cord blood banking as it is still an uncommon procedure. You may also be eligible to enroll in a mail-in donation program, but the eligibility of being able to do so may come down to whether or not your insurance covers it. When deciding to collect cord blood, you will be given the choice between storing the blood in a public or private bank. There are pros and cons to both, but neither one is a wrong or bad choice, but one might suit the specific needs of an individual more than the other. You might also decide not to donate cord blood at all, in which case the blood–along with the umbilical cord–is typically discarded.

Public Banking vs Private Banking

If you decide to donate cord blood, you would have to do your research and find a local bank that accepts cord blood donations. The process shouldn’t be too difficult, but depending on where you live, your options may be limited. And while there are pros and cons to public and private banking, it’s important to make a decision as soon as possible so you can start making preparations. After birth and collection, the cord blood will need to be safely frozen and stored in a bank where it will remain until needed for use in treating medical conditions or research. If you decide to collect and donate cord blood to a public bank, the cost of storage is free but it does mean that you forfeit any ownership over it and cannot decide on how it will be used. The upside to this option is that you are potentially helping others down the line who suffer from illnesses that can be treated with stem cell treatments. If you decide to choose a private bank, the cord blood of your child remains under your ownership for the family's future use if a medical emergency were to arise. However, it should be noted that private banking and storage plans are not free. Parents can expect to pay storage fees (either annual, monthly, or a one-time payment) for collecting, testing, and storing, but plans are very affordable and can be as low as $65 per month if you choose a monthly option. By storing the cord blood for private use, it is able to be accessed in the event of receiving stem cell treatment either for yourself, the child, or another close family member like a sibling. This takes away the trouble of finding a matching donor and allows for efficient treatment.

Which Should You Choose?

So now that you have a better understanding of cord blood donation vs. private banking, you are probably wondering which option is better for your family. The bottom line is that every family is different and the option to store or donate your baby’s cord blood is entirely up to you. Storing with a private bank like AlphaCord has never been more affordable. And with storage and payment options, it’s easier than ever to store for your family’s future. If you would like more information on how to donate cord blood, visit resource sites like Be The Match. If you would like more information on storing your baby’s stem cells with a trusted private bank, contact AlphaCord today!