Cord blood banking has sparked fierce debate in the scientific and medical community, mostly because the cost of private cord blood banking is high and the chances your family will use the blood are low. It is expensive because the cost of processing cord blood and storing it in medical freezers for years on end is considerable.

Only you can decide whether private cord blood banking is right for your family. If your family has a history of diseases, such as leukaemia, lymphomas, sickle-cell anaemia, immune deficiency disorders, aplastic anaemia or thalassaemia, cord blood storage may be a good idea. Your family's odds of needing a stem cell transplant are higher than the general population's. For more help assessing your risk of having a child with one of these diseases, talk to your family doctor who can guide you based on your family history.

Choosing a private cord blood cell bank:

  • If you've decided to opt for cord blood banking, ensure that you choose a well-reputed bank, which is certified, has technological expertise and experience.
  • As a client you must choose a company which offers banking and stem cell therapy options to you. If the stem cell banking company does not provide therapy options, then the purpose of banking is defeated. If they do not invest in trials or do not take definite steps towards stem cell therapy, they are probably not providing enough for the price they charge their clients.
  • It is advisable to choose a bank which has its storage facility situated at a location less prone to natural disasters like floods or earthquakes etc. Also find out if their storage facility has power back up and generators, monitoring systems in place that ensure a controlled environment all the time. The storage facility must also be protected against fire.
  • The bank you are considering should have a good network, accessibility and tie ups with hospitals to ensure that they will be able to deliver your child's stored cord blood cells soon enough when the need arises.

What stem cell banking options do I have in India?

Cord blood banking was an alien concept till a few years ago in India but it is rapidly becoming popular now. There are two types of banking facilities for storing the cord blood cells of your baby: The public donor banks and the private banks.
In the public donor banks, parents `donate' the cord blood of their baby to a central facility for use by anybody who needs it. The Private cord blood banking centers are built around the possibility of use either by the same child at a later date or by siblings or a family member. The expense of collecting and storing the cord blood at private banks is quite high.

Each of the private cord blood banks has different charges and paying options. Check the pricing options and the financial stability of the private cord blood bank you opt for. Also, verify if the hospital you are planning to deliver your baby at is affiliated to the cord storage bank of your choice. Check all details and the procedures involved with both the cord blood bank and the hospital of your choice.

Remember, umbilical cords are usually disposed of soon after the delivery so arrangements for storage would have to be made well in advance.


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