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Cord Blood Banking: Private V/S Public Banking

5 min read

During pregnancy, other than your health care, you’ve many decisions to make. Some of those decisions are crucial. If not done on time, you cannot do it ever. The decision to save your baby’s cord blood is one such decision.
When it comes to cord blood banking, you have three options

  • You can privately store it in stem cell banks and use it in the future.
  • You can choose public banks and donate the cord blood for other families as well.
  • You can decide against preserving cord blood, which we firmly say will be a medical waste

Till about a few years back, after delivery, the placenta and the umbilical cord were discarded at once. However, later, with research and advancement, it was detected that the umbilical cord could supply the same blood as any other stem cells as a donor.
When it comes to cord blood banking, you should need deep and thorough knowledge.
For this, however, we need to know what cord blood banking is, the process of storage, and the types of banking institutions, its benefits as well as limitations. Remember, both private and public banking has its pros and cons, and public and private banks serve very different purposes as well. Therefore, it’s a good idea to understand every aspect before making your decision.

Cord Blood Banking – How Is Cord Blood Stored?

Cord Blood banking is the term which is used to store a child’s cord blood under medical provisions. The new to be parents should be aware of the fact that the birth of the child is the only golden opportunity to be able to collect and store the beneficial stem cells.
The process of storing cord blood starts after the birth of the baby, where the umbilical cord is fastened and cut. The blood is extracted from the cord and stored in a container. The cord blood unit is then transported to a storage center by following the steps:

  • The collected cord blood is deposited at the hospital in a temperature-controlled container.
  • This container gets shipped by a private medical courier company to the destination.
  • The staff removes the stem cells.
  • At last, the cells are placed into long- term cryogenically storage, which can be accessed when required.

The cord blood can be stored by using one of the options below:

  • Private cord Banks: It is an institution where the expectant parents can store the cord blood, especially for their family only.
  • Public Cord Banks: It is an institution where the stored cord blood can be used by patients who require a transplant. It can be used for any new treatment, as well.
  • Direct Donation Banks: This type of blood is saved for any family member who has a medical requirement. If there is an ailment that needed to be treated by the bone marrow, the parents can opt for saving the cord blood for direct donation purposes.

Private v/s Public Banking. Which Is Right For Your Family?

Under a situation where the expectant parents decide to save the cord blood, the next integral question is to choose where to donate the cord blood. The option would be between private cord banking vs. public cord banking. The decision is also based on the cost and affordability.
The table given below is a brief synopsis to be able to decide the suitable option considering all features provided:

Private Cord Banking
The cord blood is stored only for their personal use by the family. One needs to pay a stipulated fee for this service. It is generally opted by people who have a family history of any ailments that can be cured by stem cell transplants.

Advantages Of Private Banking

  • This type of blood is stored only for the family.
  • This becomes handy and significant for any family member who is in need of a transplant.
  • There are chances that the baby might also be in need the same for the treatment of diseases.

Disadvantages Of Private Banking

  • The cost of collection is too high.
  • The annual storage fee charges are also on the higher side.
  • The stored blood can only be used by a family member who is in need of a stem cell transplant, and the chances of that are very rare.
  • The specialists cannot affirm if the saved cord blood can last for more than 20 yrs.
  • In a situation where the cord blood bank closes down, it becomes important to find another storage provision.

Can  Umbilical Cord Blood In Private Bank  Be Used  If One Of The Family Member Needs A Transplant?

The umbilical cord blood in a private bank can be used if one of your family members needs a transplant.  However, your doctor would consider several factors before deciding to use it. He will consider:

  • Nature of the disease: For some diseases, the own cells of the patient must be used.  Likewise, for some diseases using cells donated from a relative or unrelated donor will be an excellent choice for better results.
  • Matching: The doctor will verify if the match needs to be fully satisfied.
  • The quality of the cord blood: The doctor verifies if the cord blood unit has sufficient blood-forming cells to satisfy the need of the patient.

Public Cord Banking

Anyone can use the cord blood that is collected and donated in need or even be used for medical researches or regenerative therapies. There are no charges levied on the same. Soon after the birth of the baby, the blood is collected, marked anonymous, and transported to a public bank to save the life of someone who is in need in the future.

Advantages Of Public Cord Banking

  • The stem cells that are donated can be used by someone who needs or can even be used extensively for medical researches.
  • It is free of cost,
  • It becomes easier to donate to a public bank that works with the hospital where your delivery will take place.

Disadvantages Of Public Cord Banking

  • It won’t be available for your family if needed in the future as you are not the owner.
  • To be a donor, one needs to meet specific eligibility parameters.
  • The chances of donation are difficult in case the hospital does not work with any public bank.

If I Donate Umbilical Cord Blood To A Public Bank, Will My Name Or My Baby’s Name Be On The Registry?

This is the most common concern of expecting parents. And the answer is No.  A number will be given to the cord blood unit at the hospital and will be listed on the registry. This number makes out the cord blood unit on the registry and at the public cord blood bank. No name, by any means, is connected with the cord blood unit.
Thus, it can be seen that once all options are explored, one can make a viable choice to store the cord blood, respectively, and help oneself or the other. As it is rightly said, “Adequate cord blood banking will prolong life, and offer hope for the others to live.”   

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