Donating Cord Blood

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.

baby

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!

MDAnderson_collection_kit

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?

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6 thoughts on “Donating Cord Blood

  1. I don’t know much about this and this may be a very stupid question but if you do donate it, they won’t be able to use it to make other babies (that could potentially be yours) could they? I know that must sound so stupid. But like eggs and sperm…donating them, you know? I had a friend who donated eggs once and they went and used them more than once without her agreement, what a mess!

    1. melissaraetaylor

      I’m sorry to hear that about your friend. Once you donate cord blood, you have donated it and the organization is, for lack of a better term, free to do with it what they please. From my understanding, it would only be used to potential life saving opportunities for people who are an exact match. Hope that helps.

  2. Stefanie

    I’ve read a lot about this and here’s the conclusion I keep coming to…

    If everyone was educated on the advantages of cord blood and all hospitals took donations then there would be no need to store your own because you would bank on there being some available via donation for your child if needed. The problem with that is that then no longer people paying to store it and we obviously cannot have that. Maybe it’s just me being crazy..I don’t know.

    Another thing that really pisses me off is that the cord blood holds such life saving potential as far as research goes and we just throw it away. Every day. All day long. Just trash it. I get it…if a person doesn’t want their cord blood to go to research..fine, your option. BUT if it was presented to a person I cannot see many saying no.

    1. melissaraetaylor

      I totally agree. So many women/men don’t know about it, and they don’t know what their options are. To me its like organ donating. I “get” that people for religious purposes don’t donate organs (by saying “get” I mean, you do you, but I don’t agree or understand), but if you know that you’re not going to be using it via you’re dead..why wouldn’t you offer it to someone else to help save them?

      1. Stefanie

        As a person with polycysistic kidney disease (which is why I cannot donate bone marrow btw) who WILL (not an “if” question but a “when” question) need a kidney transplant at some point I TOTALLY AGREE.

        At least in the way of organ transplants we are making progress. My aunt (also has PKD) received a kidney transplant about 3 years ago through the “Shared Kidney Donor Program” and organ donation does get some awareness. But it’s just completely amazing that most people have no real understanding of cord blood or lifesaving potential of it. Where is the awareness? Where are the Cord Blood walks and ribbons? I mean we have organizations (I REFUSE to call it a charity) like Susan G Komen that make BILLIONS of dollars, none going to research btw, to raise awareness. I think at this point we’re all aware of breast cancer okay. Where is the cord blood awareness? Cord blood has the potential to save the lives of people with MANY diseases.

        It’s all infuriating basically. haha

  3. Pingback: Annual CordBlood Reminder | My Petite Bebe

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