Cord blood banking has become an important part of birth planning. There are now over 4 million cord blood samples held in storage in 500 cord blood banks across the world, and these are increasing by 250,000 a year.
But why are parents choosing to pay thousands of pounds to store their child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells, and is cord blood banking really worth the money?
The real cost of cord blood banking
The thing with cord blood banking is that you hope that you won’t need it, but if you do it is priceless. It can save your child’s life.
Cord blood storage at Biovault Family costs £1,900 for 25 years. That includes all consultation and admin fees as well as collection kit, courier service, stem cell processing, cell counts, viability testing and cryogenic storage. There are no annual costs. There is an option to store cord blood and tissue as well.
Stem cell processing is a highly specialised procedure. We work hard to eliminate every possible risk so that your child’s cells remain healthy and plentiful for decades. Working with NHS transplant nurses, as we do on a daily basis in our capacity as the South West Penninsula’s human tissue bank, we are keenly aware of the high stakes of our work.
The case for private cord blood storage
Cord blood banking is a brave decision. It means confronting the possibility that the worst may happen to your child, even before they have been born.
When Rosa Barney was pregnant she and her husband decided that they would their baby’s cord blood privately so that the stem cells would be there to help treat an unforeseeable illness, such as leukaemia. The couple were also hopeful that cord blood stem cells would one day benefit their son who had childhood apraxia.
18 months after Isabella’s birth she was also diagnosed with apraxia. Aged 3, Isabella was able to receive her own stem cells by infusion. A treatment that turned her life around.
It was like her being born again. (Steve Barney, Isabella’s father)
It’s an investment for the future, or in the rare case of a problem, like with this family. (Dr Joanne Kurtzberg)
The case for cord blood donation
Publicly donated cord blood is available to anyone, and doesn’t necessarily have to be a full match; it’s particularly useful for both children and adults who have conditions that cannot be treated with one’s own stem cells — including some cancers, sickle cell, and metabolic disease.
It’s important to understand that if you choose to donate your child’s cord blood, you will not be able to access it in the future. If your child or another family member should require a transplant, you may have to wait until cells are available for treatment.
As Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg explains, “A mom has to know she’s really giving up her rights to the cord blood with a public donation. It is the truly altruistic choice.”