For some reason, when you become pregnant, your name is suddenly loaded into a database and BOOM, here come the cord blood emails. And if you have no idea what cord blood is, it can be pretty overwhelming.
So here is what I knew just by common sense stuff:
1) Cord Blood is awesome.
3) Cord Blood is expensive.
To learn more, I did what any person would, I researched. Cord Blood is essentially “storing” stem cells. Stem cells have the ability to create our organs, blood, tissue, and help the immune system. They can be found in bone marrow, and fat tissue, but the most flexible and sought after stem cells come from the umbilical cord. They can be saved, and lifesaving one day.
Once you have the baby, the doctor essential collects the cord blood and then ships it to a laboratory to be processed and frozen for long term preservation. If you choose to do nothing, it’s discarded after birth. All of that valuable lifesaving material, just chucked into the trash like yesterday’s dinner.
So duh–why wouldn’t you want to do it?
Oh, because just like everything it cost money. I checked out the most well known banking system, which is CBR and the cost to bank with them is broken down as follows:
- Collection and Processing: $1,695
- First Year of Storage $130
- One-Step Shipping $170
- Total Price: $1,995 (GULP!)
Additionally, if you continue to store the cord blood it’s $130 per year. So–let’s say I pay this until my child is 28. Because I THINK that’s the last age I was when I was actually asking/needing money from my parents (not counting wedding, baby gifts, or just gifts–but genuinely “I won’t be able to buy groceries if you don’t help me out”). So that brings the cost to $3,510 over 27 years (first year is paid above) for a grand total of $5,500. While, a great idea, and I guarantee if something (knock on wood) were to happen when Bebe T is 15 years old I’ll be kicking myself, but right now it’s not an option. **Update–this blog writer stated that sometimes even the cord blood you store is not always an option for your baby!!**
But you know what is an option? Donating the cord blood. I donate blood, and I am signed up for Be The Match as a bone marrow donor, so this seems like the next logical step. Considering that 7 out of 10 people will not have a matching donor in their family for a range of diseases, I can’t imagine not donating this valuable resource. Unfortunately, there are not many hospitals that offer donating. I cannot tell you how SHOCKED I was to find out that MCV is not a donating hospital, even though UNOs is headquartered here and, I believe, BTM is headquartered here (but it might just be a regional office). Not to mention–MCV is a learning school!
However, I did reach out to my sorority sister who does work at BTM for her help. She pointed me to this website: http://bethematch.org/Support-the-Cause/Donate-cord-blood/
Unfortunatly, I’m still too early in my pregnancy to make any moves, I’ll have to wait another couple of weeks to sign up.
I can also donate through Lifeforce Cryobanks or LifeBankUSA .
I called LifeBankUSA and learned that you need to be enrolled at least six weeks prior to your due date. I am still awaiting their phone call to see how to follow up. Lifeforce has this form that you fill out and then mail it in. It seems a little less personable, and I know I will have all of the questions, so I think I’m going to wait and hear back from LifeBank before making a decision.
The line “more than 25,000 patients around the world have received cord blood transplants because parents chose to donate their baby’s cord blood” really sealed the deal. If we can save a life, why wouldn’t we?