More and more parents are thinking about freezing (or banking) their newborn’s umbilical cord blood. Cord blood banking refers to storing the cord blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after your baby is delivered. The collection of cord blood does not harm the mother or the baby. But what are the pros and cons of this practice? Here are some things to consider.
Does it make sense for my family?
Over the past 25 years, doctors have treated more than 35,000 patients with over 70 life-threatening diseases by transplanting them with blood collected from the umbilical cord of a healthy baby. Now that this treatment is available, many expectant parents are thinking about storing their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for possible future use for their child or another member of the family.
If you decide to store the cord blood, chances are low of using one’s own blood today. However, cord blood use could be expanded in the future. There are many clinical trials testing cord blood to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, such as cerebral palsy, autism, diabetes, stroke, autoimmune diseases and spinal cord injury.
Who can my baby’s cord blood potentially help?
A baby’s cord blood is an exact match for the baby and has a 30% chance of being an exact or very close match for each brother or sister.
Many states across the U.S. require expectant parents be educated on the options of what they can choose to do with their babies’ cord blood. These options include:
- Private banking for the possible use for one’s own family
- Public donation to the publicly available inventory
- Public donation for research
- Discarding it
Talk to your doctor to help decide what the right choice is for you and your family. Also, check with your health insurance plan, as private storage for unspecified future use may not be covered.
Is there a cost for banking cord blood?
There is no cost to parents for donating cord blood. Private storage for personal or family use involves an initial fee plus a yearly fee.
How can I donate my baby’s cord blood?
Some parents choose to donate their baby’s cord blood. A list of banks that take cord blood donations can be found at:
- Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-627-7692 or www.marrow.org/donatecord for a list of hospitals that collect cord blood for donation to public cord blood banks
- Blood and Marrow Transplant Information Network at 1-888-597-7654 or www.bmtinfonet.org
Not all cord blood units can be accepted for storage. Reasons may include:
- health history of the parents
- volume of the cord blood collected
Members who have access to Blue365 can receive a discount to store cord blood. View all the health and wellness deals available to you here .
- American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
- Association of American Family Physicians
The relationship between Blue365, Blue365 vendors, any vendor listed above and Blue Cross and Blue Shield is that of independent contractors.
These are discount programs only and not covered benefits under your health plan. Some services and products available through the discount programs may also be covered under your health plan. Please refer to your benefit booklet or call the customer service number on the back of your ID card for information about benefits covered under your health plan. Your premiums are not affected by these programs. Costs of programs, services and products do not count toward calendar year co-payment or lifetime maximums and/or plan deductibles. Discounts are only available through participating providers. Blue Cross and Blue Shield cannot guarantee the services or products offered by these programs, and makes no claims, promises or recommendations about any procedures or outcomes. Blue Cross and Blue Shield reserves the right to end or change these programs at any time without notice. There is no affiliation between Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the providers of products or services available through the program.
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