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I get this question frequently in my childbirth classes, ”Should I store my baby’s cord blood?”

Let me tell you, I know next to nothing about this subject. I know a lot of information about having a normal, safe, and healthy pregnancy, labor, and birth, but that’s about where my expertise ends.

Here is what I do know:

    • Stem cells from cord blood can be used to treat a long list of diseases. So if there is someone in your family fighting a disease, doctors can use your cord blood in a therapeutic way to treat the disease and possibly help your family member get healthy again. Here is a link to a long list of the diseases treatable with cord blood stem cells.
    • Some ethnic minorities may have difficulty finding a stem cell match, so it may be beneficial to store cord blood, just in case.
    • If your baby is from a minority ethnic group you can donate your baby’s cord blood for someone else to use.
    • If you choose a private company, there is an annual fee of $100-$300. This can add up over the twenty years the cord blood can be stored.
    • Some people believe that your baby benefits from waiting for the cord to stop pulsing (at least two minutes) before it is clamped and cut, so that your baby gets the full measure, about 450 ML, of cord blood from the placenta. Watch this Penny Simkin video, below. She explains why there are good reasons to wait to clamp and cut the cord, delayed cord cutting,  to let all the placenta blood drain to the baby.

  • Less than .04% of babies benefit from using their own cord blood later in life. So it may not be worth the expense unless you are aware of a genetic component for diseases in your family.

If you would like to know more and do your own research, here is a link from Consumer Affairs which can guide you through the decision making process. This includes a list of the top 10 cord blood collection and storage companies, who benefits, how the collection process is done, and much, much more information.  And a brief video explaining the cord blood collection process and what parents should know.

Cord Blood Banking: What expecting parents should know about the collection process from ConsumerAffairs on Vimeo.