In recent years, the term “cord blood” has become a buzzword and the issue itself, a hot button item. The term refers to blood that is still in the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth. The blood contains stem cells, which is used to fight and treat some hematopoietic and genetic disorders, such as the blood cancers leukemia and lymphoma. The decision to harvest the blood is a hard one in itself, but then there is another decision that quite possibly is the harder one: do we, as parents, go public or remain private?
Pros & Cons of Public Cord Blood Donation
There are several pros and cons to public cord blood donation. Perhaps the most obvious pro is that your family, specifically your newborn, will quite possibly be helping another family to keep a beloved family member. Blood that is donated to a public bank may also be used in medical research to find treatments and cures for the above mentioned hematopoietic and genetic disorders, sometimes at a profit. Sometimes doctors will waive the harvesting fee if you are donating the blood instead of privatizing it.
Although there are several pros to donating to a public blood bank, there are also some cons. The blood will not be guaranteed to be used for your own family and you will have no control over whom it does go to. Should you need to use it for yourself or your child in the future, you are not guaranteed a match by going to a public bank, even if you have previously donated to it. Finding a match can be a challenge, especially for minorities. In the event that a match is located, there is a higher chance of rejection if the blood does not come from a relative.
What About Going Private?
Although donating cord blood to a public bank serves a greater purpose of helping others in need, it may not be beneficial to your family, especially if genetic disorders run in the family. Privatizing your harvest means that your family will have exclusive rights to decide how the blood is used, be it for another relative or a family friend that happens to match up. In the event that your child need a stem cell transplant, there will be no need for you to find a donor, cutting out a lot of wait time. There is a much higher chance for matching among family and success rates are higher.
Unfortunately, there are also cons to private harvesting. For one thing, donation is costly to the tune of thousands of dollars and usually without any option for your insurance to cover the costs. Even if you can afford to fork over that much money, your own blood may not be sufficient for treating or curing any genetic diseases, meaning it might not go to good use even if you do harvest the blood and privatize it.
One thing is certain when it comes to donating the blood. Be sure to make an informed decision. Do your research before jumping into a decision, as it could affect your family’s future or the future of another family.
This post is brought to you on behalf of Cells for Life, your cord blood banking expert. Visit our website for more information: http://www.cellsforlife.com/cord-blood.html