Weighing the Options with Cord Blood Banking - Who Needs It?

Cord blood banking is certainly an exciting new medical option. It's important, however, before deciding whether or not to bank your child's cord blood, to weight your options. Private cord blood banking is quite expensive, and it's important to understand both the benefits and disadvantages to participating in this process. Here, we evaluate who can most benefit from cord blood banking, with the goal of helping you to make a more educated decision.

Family History

If there is a family history of disease, then cord blood banking might be a good choice for you. The AAP recommends cord blood banking for those who have a high chance of needing a bone marrow transplant at some point. If someone in your family is already sick and could benefit from stem cell transplantation, then this family would certainly be encouraged to do cord blood banking. Similarly, if there is a family history of this type of major illness, then it would be beneficial to have the stem cells from the cord blood stored, should there be a need for a transplant.

The Potential

While the stem cells from cord blood can only help with bone marrow transplants at the moment, there is certainly a hope that there will be other medical breakthroughs in the future. There are many researchers working on other life saving techniques that use stem cells. Therefore, some people recommend storing cord blood for the potential in the future. The hope is that more medical breakthroughs will become available, and people who store cord blood will have more opportunities to cure more sicknesses than those who don't store cord blood.

Hard Matches

Some people have a statistically harder time finding a match if they were to need a bone marrow transplant. Such people include those who are part of an ethnic or racial minority or those who were conceived using IVF. The thought is that these people should be encouraged to store cord blood, as well as people hoping to create an insurance policy for the future if they should ever need a match.

Sleep Well at Night

Some people need to have certain assurances in place in order to sleep well at night. While one person might have a hefty home owner's policy, another makes sure to have ample life insurance. Cord blood banking can be seen in a similar light. The hope is that you'll never need the cord blood - just like you hope never to need to use your home owner's insurance. However, in order to create peace of mind, you might decide to store cord blood, knowing that you have it if you should ever need it. If, however, you don't have expendable income, and you don't have any of the factors discussed above, then you probably will not want to store cord blood.

Many of the cord blood banks instill a sense of fear into parents with their advertising. They make it seem that you are being irresponsible or thoughtless if you don't choose to store cord blood. It is very important for each family to weight the options and evaluate if they feel this is a necessary step. Evaluate your options in relation to your family medical history, your need for security, your financial position and your ethnic background to make the best decision for you and those you love.

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