As a parent, you will face many tough decisions. Should you breastfeed or give your baby formula in a bottle? Should you become a stay-home parent or go back to work and take him to daycare? Should you let him go to school with chicken pox? At what age can he stay home unsupervised? When is he old enough to date? Should you let him drive the family car or make him work and save for his own? If he refuses to go to college should you kick him out of the house? In your child’s life, you will have no shortage of difficult decisions to make. But there is one that you’ll have to settle before he’s even born, and that’s whether or not you want to bank his cord blood. This is a very personal decision that can be fraught with emotion and uncertainty, but it’s one that every parent should at least consider. Here are just a few things that might affect your decision.
There are a couple of reasons why expectant parents might be hesitant to bank cord blood. For one thing, their religious or personal beliefs may prohibit them in some way. And while this is not a scientific reason, it is no less valid for people who feel strongly on the subject. As stated above, this is a personal decision and each family must do what they believe is right for their kids. However, the cost is also an issue, and it could end up being as much as several thousand dollars for storage. Further, parents should know that some disorders that cord blood is meant to treat, such as genetic conditions, could be present in the cord blood, as well, making it useless for the purposes of treatment (at least for that particular disorder). Still, there are a lot of potential benefits to consider, as well.
For one thing, stem cells found in cord blood could help to treat the future occurrence of diseases and disorders that are common in your family history. If, for example, your family members seem prone to certain cancers that are likely to pop up later in life, having cord blood on hand could mean that you don’t have to waste time seeking a suitable donor, just for example. But researchers also have hope that banked cord blood to could be used to fight illnesses that we don’t even know about yet, or those that may not be predictable because there is no family history. Of course, this is supposing you pay to store cord blood with a private facility like Familycord that will keep your samples safe for your family and eventually, your child alone.
You might also consider the prospect of donation. If you’re not certain that your child will ever need cord blood, or you simply don’t have the money to store it, you can still donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank that will either use it for research purposes or pass it along to a person in need if it happens to be a match. Your donation shouldn’t cost you a dime and it could end up saving countless lives. But again, the decision is 100% up to you. It seems as though the potential benefits outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to cord blood banking, but you still need to do your research if you want to make an informed decision that is right for your family.