Cord Blood banking seems to be big business these days. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about the subject prior to ever becoming pregnant, but from your first visit to the OB/GYN you start seeing all the ads, flyers and paraphernalia related to it. And — as any dutiful parent would do, I took the time to look into it a little bit (the first time around), and talked it over with my other half, to see if it was something we felt was necessary for our child.
What is cord blood banking? Breaking it down into the simplest of terms, it is the collecting and storing of stem cell rich blood from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord for possible future medical use by the child, family member or unrelated patient in need of a stem cell transplant.
There is still lots of medical research being conducted surrounding the use of stem cells, and it seems the benefits can be invaluable in certain situations. The cost to do this can be pricey, especially considering that you may have just footed the bill for the maternity term, and delivery…and it’s sort of something you can store (privately), because you never know when a situation may come up where you would need the stem cells. Another thing to think about is that (we were told), you wouldn’t necessarily use it for the baby you just had, but perhaps another child (you birth) down the road who may need it. At any rate, we decided not to buy into this service, but did decide to try and help other families in need, by donating the cord blood.
So, I did more research about how and where to donate the cord blood. I found out that my chosen hospital for delivery did not have a system in place to automatically donate, so I had to find an outside organization that would be able to collect the blood. There was a ton of forms to fill out, and in the pages of questions, I had to disclose all kinds of info related to race, travel and family background…sort of like when you do “regular” blood donation, plus a little more. Donation or not, there will be lots of forms to fill out and you need to make the decision and have the collection set up a good amount of time before your due date, so don’t delay if you’re thinking about it. As the time came closer to deliver my baby, I really felt great about my decision to donate the cord blood. I knew that since my child is of mixed race, it made the donation that much more important because it’d be in the “minority.”
When D-Day came, I made sure the CORD blood donation kit was packed with all my other hospital stuff. I made sure the doctor and nurses were aware of my intention to donate and that it went in with me for delivery. Well, I distinctly recall my nurse telling me who there was lots of IT to donate and how it was really good blood. I chuckle now, but I guess in hospitals, that’s just how they talk about that kind of stuff. Anyway, I say all this to say that in the end, the donation did not go as planned. Since my child was born late at night on the eve of Independence Day, there was no one available to pick it up on a holiday! We attempted to refrigerate it for pick up the following day, but they couldn’t accept it because it has to be stored a special way. So, although my intention was there, the final step wasn’t completed because my baby was (almost) born on the 4th of July.
That was summer of 2012, so maybe the company has addressed the holiday “pick up” issue now, and/or maybe it was just the one organization I selected. Like I said, some hospitals have partnerships and programs set up to automatically collect the CORD blood for private use or donation, so if it’s something you want to do, make sure to plan in advance and find out what your facility can do to help you bank the cord blood.