You asked, we answer.
We’ve compiled a list of the questions that were posed to us by families interested in learning more about cord blood and cord tissue banking during the past year. The topics ranged from whether to delay clamping of the umbilical cord to how cord blood is transported and stored to how it is used in stem cell treatments. These are the most-often-asked questions of 2014.
“Why should I bank cord blood?”
There are many reasons why parents choose to collect and store their newborn’s stem cells, and the advancements in medical research and treatments of disease are compelling by themselves. The top three considerations for our families when deciding to store cord blood are: the benefits for mixed-race children, a family history of disease, and establishing a treatment option for the future.
“What is the difference between private and public banking?”
When you store your cord blood in a private bank, you reserve the rights to use it when you need it, and your child is always a perfect match to his or her own cells. The collection can occur virtually anywhere, and using stem cells from a related donor significantly lowers the incidence of Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD). Public cord blood banks accept cord blood donations for free. However, public cord blood banks only collect cord blood at a limited number of locations, and approximately 70% of donated cord blood is discarded for not meeting process and storage criteria . Additionally, once your child’s stem cells are donated, it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to retrieve them for private use, whereas with private banking you control the use of your family’s individual stem cells.
“Will removing and storing umbilical cord blood and cord tissue harm the baby?”
The procedure to collect blood from the umbilical cord for storage is fast and harmless to both mother and baby. After the cord is clamped, the nurse will simply use the cord blood bank’s collection kit to save the blood instead of disposing it.
“I’ve heard that it can be beneficial to delay clamping of the umbilical cord. Is this an issue, and can I still bank cord blood if we delay clamping?”
In most instances of cord blood collection, a ‘delayed’ clamping occurs 1-3 minutes after birth. Clamping the cord in that time provides an ample amount of blood for storage. We believe the timing of umbilical cord clamping is a decision for families and their doctor to make together.
“When can I make the decision on whether to bank cord blood and cord tissue? How much time do I have to do it?”
The best time to talk about cord blood banking is during your second trimester, sometime between your 13th and 26th week. That will give you enough time to read up on the benefits of cord blood and cord tissue banking, compare your options, tour cord blood banking facilities, and make your decision. Most cord blood banks request at least a few weeks’ notice prior to birth to setup your account and ship the cord blood collection kit to you.