Expert Advice

Considerations About Cord Blood Banking

by Kim Walls

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

How much does it cost to save my baby’s umbilical cord blood?

Public banking is free. For private cord blood banking, there are usually two fees involved. The first is the initial fee that covers enrollment, collection, and storage for at least the first year. The second is an annual storage fee. Some facilities often vary the initial fee based on the length of a predetermined period of storage.

Depending on the predetermined period of storage, the initial fee can range from $900 to $2100[1]. Annual storage fees afterward are approximately $100 per year. It is common for storage facilities to offer prepaid plans at a discount and payment plans to help make the initial storage fee more affordable.

The quality and reputation of the cord blood bank you choose are critical to ensuring the viability of your baby’s stem cells. If you choose to bank privately, cost is less important than the assurance that your blood bank is reliable and baby’s cells are well-preserved if you need them.

 

Are there private cord blood banks that will collect and store my baby’s umbilical cord stem cells for me for free?

Maybe. Free private cord blood collection can be available to parents through charity programs if a close relative of their baby has a case of “medical need”. Medical need is established when a member of the family has been diagnosed with a disease for which cord blood transplant is considered a standard therapy, like leukemia. Proof must be provided. Even when collection is free, the annual storage fees usually still apply after 1-5 years of storage.

 

Is cord blood banking covered by insurance?

Probably not. Private/family cord blood banking is generally considered a medical luxury unless a genetically-related person in the family has a verified medical need. Check with your healthcare plan to confirm.

 

Is cord blood banking tax deductible?

Probably not. You can only deduct the cost of collecting, banking, and storing cord blood if your baby or a family member has a medical condition that might improve with cord blood treatment. Check with your tax expert to be sure.

 

If I can’t (or don’t want to) justify the cost of banking my baby’s cord blood, does it have to go to waste?

Absolutely not! In most cases, you can arrange to donate your baby’s cord blood for free. You’ll just need to make the decision to donate before your 34th week of pregnancy so that you can provide informed consent and go through a health screening to ensure the safety of your cord blood donation.

 

CORD BLOOD DONATION

What is cord blood donation?

Public cord blood banks, and some private/family banks, will accept cord blood donations. If you donate your baby’s cord blood, then just like any other blood donation, it is free.

There are many locations that will collect, process, and use the stem cells from your baby’s cord blood to treat other people. Donated cord blood will be stored and available to patients in need. It is not saved for your family. Your donated cord blood will be listed on a database that can be searched by doctors on behalf of their patients. The cord blood is listed purely by its genetic type, with no information about the identity of the donor.

In the United States, Be The Match maintains a national network of public cord blood banks and registered cord blood donations. However, all the donation registries around the world cooperate with each other, so the patient who could one day benefit from your child’s cord blood may come from anywhere.

Donation to a public or private bank is a way to preserve your baby’s cord blood for free. While you wouldn’t have direct access to this blood, your donation could make a difference in someone else’s life.

 

How can I find a good public cord blood banking company?

Visit https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/donationspot

 

CHOOSING A PRIVATE FAMILY CORD BLOOD BANK

How can I find a reliable private/family cord blood banking company?

There are several cord blood banks that are accredited by the (AABB) American Association of Blood Banks. You can compare them all here: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/family-banking/united-states.

As well, Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) uses stringent criteria to make sure participating organizations meet the highest quality standards.

 

Are all cord blood banks basically the same? What are some of the key differences I should be looking for?

While there are many factors to consider when choosing a private/family cord blood bank, two criteria stand out a bit more than the rest.

First and ideally, choose a facility that is fully accredited (by both AABB and FACT). To learn more about the various accreditations, visit: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/accreditation

Second, consider the cord blood bank’s level of transplant experience. When a cord blood bank has a high number of successful transplants, you can be confident that it is a top choice because the stem cells they stored were viable. A high number of transplants shows that the cord blood bank has already helped save many lives.

StemCyte, one of our cord blood banking partners, is accredited by the AABB as well as FACT. They offer both private/family and public cord blood banking services, and can provide immediate answers to your questions. You can call StemCyte toll-free at 866-389-4659.

If you are giving birth in the hospital or birthing center, your choice to bank your baby’s umbilical cord blood needs to be listed in your final birth plan. And don’t forget to put that collection kit in your hospital bag!

[1] https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/family-banking

 

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Published: December 10, 2016 | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: December, 2016

 

Kim WallsConsiderations About Cord Blood Banking

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