Cord blood banking benefits for moms of newborns. I interviewed a doctor on the subject of cord blood banking, as well as a mom who opted to store her daughter’s cord blood and ended up needing to use it.
Cord Blood Banking Benefits
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Let’s start with the basics… what is cord blood banking and what are a few cord blood banking benefits?
Dr McAllister – Cord blood banking is the collection and storage of a baby’s cord blood – and that’s the umbilical cord we’re talking about. So, in the moments following birth, the doctor, nurse or midwife simply uses a syringe to collect the cord blood. And, this would otherwise be discarded as medical waste. 90% of cord blood is simply thrown in the hospital trash or the incinerator, whatever. So, it’s very, very important that moms know that you’ve got one chance to save it and that’s in the moments after the baby’s birth. And, this cord blood is an extremely rich source of stem cells which are kind of the master cells of the body and they can be used to treat… right now we know of 80 different diseases. But FDA regulated clinical trials are showing promise in areas such as autism, the treatment of autism, traumatic brain injury, pediatric stroke… so really, really important that parents learn about this.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – That leads into my next question, you mentioned a couple specifics, can you tell us more about what types of future therapies or treatments cord blood could be used?
Dr McAllister – Right, it’s really neat that Science of regenerative medicine is expanding, and it’s estimated that one in three people in the United States in their lifetime will benefit from regenerative medicine using stem cells from potentially cord blood. That would mean, for instance, I’m in my seventies and I go the hospital because I’ve had a heart attack or I’ve blown out my knee because I’m playing tennis or something – then it’s possible that these stem cells could be used to treat my heart attack, to treat my torn cartilage or whatever. So, very exciting.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Are there some families with genetic backgrounds who should more closely consider cord blood banking?
Dr McAllister – I would say that. Because cord blood can be used right now, we know, it can be used to treat 80 different diseases. Those parents, any parents who have a history of metabolic disorders, immune disorders, cancers, blood cancers like Leukemia, anemias like Sickle Cell Anemia, definitely should go. Now, a company called Cord Blood Registry has a program called the Newborn Possibilities program where parents might qualify for free banking. But, I’ll tell you, you don’t have to have an increased risk. As Shelly can tell you, she had a situation that she was totally unprepared for and she probably wouldn’t have thought in advance about it.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – That’s what I was going to ask… what is the cost of cord blood banking and so there are free cord blood banking options as well?
Dr McAllister – There are free options. Right now about $2000 to collect and bank. The free option is offered only through Cord Blood Registry Newborn Possibilities Program for people who have an increased risk. But, for normal, healthy families, for Shelly’s family, it’s also really important to think about it and know your options.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Dr. McAllister, can you tell us if the cord blood banking procedure can be used for someone other than the person it came from?
Dr McAllister – This is what makes it such a wonderful gift, not only for your child, but also for a sibling. You know there’s possibility in cases of cord blood registry, at least there have been cases, where a sibling has received cord blood banked. But, also, these stem cells can be stored potentially indefinitely. So, not only could the child and sibling and family member use this in their own lifetimes, but we have to think there’s a possibility they might be used in the future, especially in regnerative medicine – you know, very, very high potential there.
Lisa LaGrou of Oakland County Moms – Thanks for letting us know about the cord blood banking benefits.