A lot of people have asked for more information about cord blood banking–the pros, the cons, and how it all works– so I decided to write a post about the process.
We never considered banking cord blood when Anna was born. To be upfront, the costs to bank cord blood are often high, and we didn’t think we’d ever need the stem cells. When I got pregnant with Owen it made sense to do a little research on the costs and benefits. After all, in the last two years we’ve come to realize that cancer can happen to anyone. Even though Jonathan has been in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for well over a year, if his cancer came back a stem cell transplant would likely be necessary. It seemed in our best interest to do more research on cord blood banking before our second baby’s birth.
Early in my pregnancy I began researching our options. After a quick Google search, I called Cord Blood Registry and spoke to Kendric, a senior cord blood education specialist. I’m really lucky that I got in touch with someone who was not only very knowledgable, but also extremely kind and professional.
I explained our family’s situation to Kendric and asked if it made sense for us to bank cord blood. “What are the chances that anything collected would actually be a match should Jonathan need it someday?” Kendric wasn’t able to tell us, but he said that because Jonathan is a recent blood cancer survivor we should apply for the Newborn Possibilities Program. My heart skipped a beat! Just a few weeks later, after completing some simple paperwork, we got approved!
You guys- our entire cord blood and tissue collection fee and five years of storage were completely waived. We’re talking thousands of dollars saved. Cancer perk? You betcha.
The day after we got approved by CBR, a box arrived on our doorstep with all the materials and instructions for collection. We filled out a bit more paperwork in the box, and then waited for delivery day.
Because Owen’s arrival was so fast, we almost forgot about banking his cord blood. Thank goodness one of us remembered and told our nurses. Just moments after his birth our doctor began collecting the blood and tissue. I’m not sure what this process entailed (I was slightly distracted) but I know it took about 10-15 minutes. The only bummer about collection is this 10-15 minute window, simply because once you’ve delivered a baby you’re ready to get cleaned up and fed as soon as possible.
CBR’s collection box is really straightforward, clean and easy to use. Once everything was boxed back up, Jonathan called the courier number listed in the box. About two hours after the baby’s birth, a gentleman came and picked up the box. By that night it had been banked in Arizona.
While we certainly have special circumstances for why we decided to bank blood, I think the collection is worth considering even if you don’t have a family history of cancer or other diseases. The process is simple, safe and painless. It’s also not controversial–these are not embryonic stem cells–and they can be used to potentially treat cancer, blood disorders, immune disorders and metabolic disorders. Even more exciting? There are tons of clinical trials going on right now that may expand the usefulness in years to come.
I’m really thankful we could bank Owen’s cord blood and tissue in the event Jonathan needed it. We’re not even sure if our baby’s cells would be a match for Jonathan, but it’s nice to feel like we pursued this option should the need arise.
Have you banked your baby’s blood? Considering it? We loved Cord Blood Registry and can’t recommend it enough! Thank you, CBR!