The Facts About Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
Umbilical cord blood banking has been around since the 1980s. Recently, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists developed a committee to review the procedure and update their recommendations on whether or not OB-Gyns should recommend umbilical cord blood banking to their patients. We reviewed ACOG’s new recommendations and want to share that information with you, as expectant mothers frequently ask us about umbilical cord banking. Whether you’re familiar with the umbilical cord blood banking or are hearing about it for the first time, we want to make sure that you’re educated on the procedure.
What Is Umbilical Cord Blood Banking?
After a baby is born, there is some blood that stays in the umbilical cord and placenta. Usually, the cord blood is just discarded, but some parents may elect to have a blood banking procedure done to preserve it.
Why Is Blood Banking Done?
The cord blood has been shown to contain hematopoietic stem cells that have the potential to help save lives. For example, it has been shown to have advantages over bone marrow and peripheral stem cells during stem cell transplants. Cord blood also reduces the risk of any reaction from the host of a transplant.
Parents may elect to have their child’s cord blood “banked” or preserved because they are hoping to have it available should their child become sick in the future, or parents may elect to donate their child’s cord blood to a public bank to potentially help others.
What Is Done with the Blood Once It’s Collected?
After the blood is collected from the cord, it’s taken and stored in a bank. There are two kinds of banks that have emerged over the past 30 years: public banks and private banks.
Private banks are for-profit organizations that charge their customers to store cord blood for personal use. They also don’t guarantee that the blood will be used for the same patient whose blood they have or their family members.
Public banks are usually federally or privately funded, so there’s no cost to customers who choose a public organization. However, they don’t allow individuals to store cord blood for personal use. Instead, they open up their storage to be used by all individuals who need cord blood for transplants or other procedures.
What Are ACOG’s Recommendations?
A large part of ACOG’s review of blood banking focused on the importance of reviewing and informing patients of the differences between private and public banks. While these two types of blood banks are funded differently and use their stores for personal vs. public use, both must be registered with the FDA. They both also have to meet high standards of donor screening, infectious disease testing, and FDA tissue-handling requirements. But despite these high standards at both organizations, patients still need to understand the different purposes of private and public banks.
Here are ACOG’s recommendations on private vs. public banks from this year’s committee opinion:
What do AWHC’s doctors think about cord blood banking?
Our doctors at A Woman’s Healing Center will support you in your birth choices so long as they will ensure a positive outcome for both mother and baby. If umbilical cord blood banking is important to you, we will work with you to make a plan for that procedure post-delivery, however, it is important to know that we support ACOG’s opinion that research does not show any advantages of umbilical cord blood banking.
We care about our mothers-to-be and don’t want them to get taken advantage of by companies trying to make money without evidence to support their claims. If you’re considering cord blood banking, we recommend that you ask lots of questions and review all available recommendations from reputable sources.
How Do I Learn More About Umbilical Cord Blood Banking?
If you want to know more about cord blood, the private vs. public banks, and information on the use of cord blood, you can click here to see ACOG’s full committee opinion. You can also reach out to us to talk more about the procedure. We’re happy to help you learn more and answer any questions that you might have. Call us at 970-419-1111 to schedule an appointment.
Below is a PDF patient fact sheet on umbilical cord blood banking from ACOG.acog patient information sheet on umbilical cord blood banking