The collection and storage of blood from the umbilical cord, when a baby is born, is becoming more and more common. The reason is that the cells contained in the umbilical cord blood have a therapeutic value in the treatment of malignant and non-malignant issues of the blood and diseases of the immune system. Umbilical cord blood has been used in transplant medicine since 1988 when the first allogeneic umbilical cord blood transplant was performed, and in the last 25 years, this practice has grown rapidly.
In recent years, the number of umbilical cord blood banks that offer families the opportunity to store their children’s umbilical cord blood for possible future private use, for some initial or annual fees, has grown exponentially.
How Much Does Cord Blood Banking Cost?
Usually, there is a one-time preparation/processing cord blood banking fee applied which is around $2,200. Also, you will have to pay a fee for the first year that may be anywhere between $550 and $2,100.
In most cases, some types of shipping fees are charged, somewhere around $160.
Depending on the company you work with, you will have to pay storage fees that are anywhere between $120 and $250 per year.
As an example, the one-time processing fee charged by CordBlood.com is around $2,150. After that, the cost for storage will be $140 per year. Plus, they offer low-cost monthly payment plans that start at around $70 per month.
Usually, the one-time fees are anywhere between $2,100 and $3,500, according to an ABC.com article.
In the table below you will find the cost of cord blood banking at different companies.
|Company Name||1st Year Cost||Annual Storage Fee|
|Cord Blood Solutions||$1,800||$125|
|Cord Blood Registry||$2,070||$125|
|New England Cord Blood||$2,000||$125|
Cord blood banking details
After a baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, a certain amount of blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and in the part of the umbilical cord that remains attached to it. After birth, the baby no longer needs this extra blood, which is called umbilical cord blood or, in short, “cord blood”.
Cord blood is collected in a sterile bag which is called the umbilical cord blood unit. The sterile bag is then sent to a cord blood bank, where tests and checks are performed (for cell counts, for the absence of communicable diseases, HLA typing).
When the cord blood unit is considered suitable for transplantation, it is given an identification number and frozen for long-term storage in the bank. Cord blood units are normally stored in liquid nitrogen or liquid nitrogen vapor to keep them at -238° Fahrenheit or lower.
Once collected and stored in a public bank, the cord blood unit is recorded in a register and made available to patients.
Types of cord blood banks
Public cord blood banks collect, process, and store cord blood units for allogeneic transplantation. These banks are often funded by national health systems and store cord blood units donated altruistically by parents for potential use in the case of any patient in need.
Private cord blood banks collect and store umbilical cord blood units for autologous or family use, which means that these cord blood units will be kept for the exclusive use of the donor or someone in the family, who would develop a disease that requires hematopoietic stem cell treatment in the future.
Most of these banks are private institutions and they operate on a non-profit basis. At these banks, the family pays a fee to collect and store blood from their child’s umbilical cord, and these units will not be made available to the public through national or international registries.
Alternative options for storing cord blood in banks are currently being offered to the public. For example, hybrid cord blood banks offer families the opportunity to privately store or donate their units for public use. Regardless of their choice, the unit will be stored in the same location.
What are the extra costs?
Usually, the collection kits are included in the final cost, but there are companies that charge an extra fee for it.
In case you want to store the cord tissue as well, you will have to pay an additional price. This is allowed by some companies like ViaCord for a one-time fee that is around $1,100.
A courier and administration fee might be added to the initial bill.
Important things to consider
Parents need to check with the bank on what might happen to their cord blood unit in case the bank has to close for whatever reason.
In addition, parents should also be aware that in most private banks, cord blood units will be removed if the parents stop paying the storage fee.
You can sign up to donate cord blood when you are between the 28th and 34th week of pregnancy (although some hospitals will also take last-minute donations). Most public cord hospitals and blood banks need several weeks before your baby is born to check your medical history and donor eligibility.
Private banks do not always meet the same strict criteria for the quality and number of cells as public banks.
Advantages of cord blood banking
- More than 80 oncological and haematological diseases are treated by transplanting blood stem cells from the umbilical cord.
- The administration of umbilical cord blood stem cells is used in patients with autism and cerebral palsy.
- Umbilical cord stem cells are widely used for the reconstruction of neurons, joints, and bones.
- Blood collection is non-invasive and is absolutely safe for both mother and baby.
Disadvantages of cord blood banking
- Despite the growing number of indications, stem cells do not work for all conditions and diseases.
- Blood collection and storage in the cord blood bank is not covered by the health insurance companies, so parents must bear the costs.
- Blood from the umbilical cord cannot always be collected and stored. There are contraindications for blood collection, for example, HIV infection.
Is cord blood banking worth it?
The decision to store blood from your child’s umbilical cord is a personal decision. Some people think that the potential benefits are too little to justify the money spent. Others believe it is a profitable investment. The key to this controversy is to understand the data in order to make a rational and well-informed decision.
How can I save money?
In case you want to save some money with cord blood banking, it is recommended to pay in advance for more years. But there are also payment plans for those who can’t afford to pay the whole sum in one go.
You can get informed about a lot of things you should be aware of by buying some of the Cord Blood Banking Books.
There are many companies that offer combined discounts to those who want to donate their’s child tissue with cord blood.
If you meet certain requirements you can have your’s child cord blood stored by some hospitals like Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. But you can get more information about it from their website.
If you are looking for a gift idea for the baby shower there are cord blood banking companies that offer gift registry options where you can have people donate money.
How can I compare prices?
You should ask about the way of storage for the blood and whether it is stored in vapor or nitrogen when you have to choose a cord blood bank.
Also, you have to ask about the way your specimen’s temperature is regulated.
An important aspect to consider is the way the facility is built and if it can withstand a natural disaster such as a tornado. In an unfortunate situation like this, your specimen may be lost.
Ask about any discounts they can offer. Usually, those who have twins or triplets, military or students are offered lower prices.