When considering any investment in your family’s future, it’s normal to want to take the time to fully research every option. We’ve compiled seven cord blood banking myths that we’ve come across recently to make that a little bit easier.
Myth 1: Banked Cord Blood Stem Cells are Only “Good” for 18 Years
Some people believe that because cord blood banks tend to offer storage terms of 18 or 20 years that the stem cells “go bad” or “expire” beyond that point. But if stored properly, cord blood stem cells can safely and effectively be stored indefinitely, which is why at Americord our most commonly chosen storage option is for 20 years. And if a longer storage term is wanted, parents can choose a lifetime storage plan, or either the child (after turning 18) or parents can choose to extend the storage term at a later date, for as long as they wish.
Myth 2: Cord Blood Banking Takes Something from Your Baby
We also hear from people who are concerned that by collecting cord blood, they are depriving their baby of blood it needs – or that delayed cord clamping is not possible, should a parent want to do both. The good news is that cord blood banking does not take blood away from the baby, and delayed cord clamping is still very much possible – and a practice that Americord fully supports.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends delaying the clamping of the cord for 30-90 seconds after birth, to allow the baby to continue to receive blood from the placenta. At this point, the blood begins to clot and the baby is no longer receiving it. However, it is still possible to then clamp the umbilical cord and withdraw blood into a collection bag for cord blood banking.
Myth 3: Cord Blood Can Only Be Used to Benefit Your Baby
Some parents wonder if cord blood banking is worth it, particularly if it can only help their newborn. However, it is important to understand that not only are cord blood stem cells a match to the newborn, but that they are also possibly a match for siblings. Siblings can frequently be treated with a “half-match”, which has a 50% chance of occurring. This flexibility makes cord blood banking a valuable investment, particularly if certain illnesses that can be treated with cord blood stem cells, like certain cancers, run in a family. We’re happy to answer more questions about how this process works.
Myth 4: Taking Blood Samples from Mom is Unsafe for Baby
One of the steps in the cord blood banking process is the maternal blood draw. After arriving at the hospital for delivery, but before fluids are given, vials of blood are drawn to be sent to a laboratory for an infectious disease panel. This is important to screen for potential health issues for the child.
Some mothers have expressed concern that they should not be giving any additional blood before delivery. We fully understand the concern, as the health and safety of both mother and baby is also our top priority. The good news is that the amount of blood needed for the blood draw is very small, and the mother will also be given fluids and everything else she needs for a safe delivery. This is also not the baby’s blood, so they remain entirely unaffected by the practice and can only benefit from the screen.
Myth 5: You Can’t Bank Cord Blood if You Have a C-Section
We frequently hear concerns about cord blood banking after a planned (or unplanned!) C-section delivery. That’s a valid concern – a C-section delivery requires a sterile operating room, meaning that bringing something like a cord blood collection bag into the room can pose a new challenge. We’re dedicated to all of our clients, so we wanted to make sure that our collection bag was as safe for use as possible. Americord’s bag is sterilized inside-and-out, so it can always be safely brought into the room during a C-section. From there, the process is little different than any other cord blood collection, and medical providers will still have the knowledge and ability to collect cord blood for storage.
Myth 6: It’s Easy to Find a Cord Blood Donor, So There’s No Need to Bank
Some parents choose to not bank their newborn’s cord blood stem cells out of a preference to find a donor source of stem cells, should their child ever need them. Americord is not opposed to donating to public cord blood banks, and we believe that families who do not bank their newborn’s cord blood stem cells absolutely should donate them when possible.
However, it is important to understand how public cord blood banks operate. Nearly 70% of donations are rejected, making it much more difficult to find a donor match. It is also more difficult to find a match for children of an ethnic minority or mixed ethnic background, giving some families even more reason to consider banking their newborn’s cord blood.
If a match is found, it can also be incredibly costly to obtain donor stem cells. Public cord blood banks are funded by fees to withdraw the stem cells that are donated to them. That means it can cost upwards of $50,000 to withdraw stem cells from one of these banks.
Myth 7: All Cord Blood Banks Are the Same
Some cord blood banks suggest that there is little difference, if any, between cord blood banks, and that cost should be the only factor to influence a growing family’s decision. Not only is this not true, it suggests that it isn’t possible to find the best cord blood banking services at an affordable price.
In the process of cord blood banking, the hematopoietic stem cells that make cord blood so valuable are separated from the other components of the blood (such as red blood cells and platelets) and cryopreserved for future use. The more stem cells that are safely stored, the more treatment options available to a family in the future.
To make sure Americord clients had the most treatment options, we developed our proprietary Cord Blood 2.0® processing method, we can store up to twice the number of stem cells as the industry average storage, providing these additional treatment options to families, including the possibility of multiple treatments and treatments for children as they reach adolescence and even adulthood. Processing methods and results can vary substantially between cord blood banks. We’re also committed to making cord blood banking as accessible and affordable as for as many families as we can, and have a number of flexible payment options and competitive pricing to make that possible.
If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help – just give us a call.