Posted: Jul 12, 2012
Each day, more than 6,000 Americans with life-threatening diseases scour stem cell registries, looking for a match. Whereas, 20 years ago, this meant finding a willing bone marrow donor, cord blood stem cells have been playing an increasing role in filling this important medical need. Today, cord blood is being used to treat many blood and immune diseases and is being studied in clinical trials as a therapy for conditions like traumatic brain injury and hearing loss.
This July, in honor of Cord Blood Awareness Month, CBR is encouraging expecting parents to make an educated decision about saving their babies’ newborn stem cells.
Every mother deserves the chance to become educated
Medical associations and members of congress have spoken out in favor of cord blood education, validating the importance of providing expecting parents with information on the value of cord blood stem cells and families’ banking options.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that all pregnant women be provided with a "balanced perspective" on all cord blood banking options. The IOM recognizes the importance of saving cord blood stem cells as a viable treatment option for children and adults in need of a stem cell transplant.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “physicians should give balanced information to their pregnant patients who are considering cord blood banking, presenting both the advantages and disadvantages of public vs. private cord blood banks.”
More than 150 congressional districts nationwide have shown support for the Family Cord Blood Banking Act (HR 1614). This important piece of legislation would lower the cost of banking by allowing families to use tax-free dollars to pay for upfront costs and annual storage fees through flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or medical expenses tax deductions.
Making the cord blood banking decision
As cord blood awareness is gathering support from all sides, do your part to pass on your newborn stem cell wisdom. Cord blood can only be collected immediately after birth, so parents should understand their choices and make a decision well before their due date.
• Family banking: Have access to your child’s genetically unique stem cells for future use, for a fee. Visit www.cordblood.com for more information.
• Medical need: Special programs provide free collection,* processing and storage for up to five years for qualifying families with an existing medical condition treatable with newborn stem cells.
• Public donation: If eligible, expecting parents can donate cord blood stem cells at participating hospitals for public use.
• Waste: If you do not choose to bank or donate, your baby’s cord blood will be discarded as medical waste.
To learn more or to pass on your cord blood banking knowledge, click on or share this fun, free tutorial: CordBankingBasics.com.
*CBR is not responsible for fees charged by your healthcare provider or hospital associated with the collection of your newborn’s cord blood sample or any fees associated with shipping the sample to our laboratory.