Is Cord Blood Banking Really Worth the Cost?

Dollars and bloodLots of people in the medical world today are talking about cord blood banking. This emerging trend in medicine involves the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood and tissue following childbirth, and its benefits are being touted from doctor’s offices, yoga studios and everywhere in between. Studies indicate that the blood stem cells found in the umbilical cord could be used to treat a number of diseases as this medical discipline grows, but many parents-to-be are wondering if it is worth the cost.

Umbilical cord blood can be banked publicly, and many mothers donate their cord blood to public storage for research and possible treatment applications in the future. However, private cord blood banking is offering a related service with a hefty price tag. A private cord blood bank can store the mother’s umbilical cord blood for private use within the family, something that a public bank cannot offer. For an initial investment of around $2,000 and annual storage fees that hover around the $100 mark, parents can privately store cord blood for future use.

This may seem outlandishly expensive, but the cost of processing and storing cord blood in a private bank is high enough for companies to justify these rates. What is still unclear to many parents is whether or not this investment will pay off. Treatments using cord blood are still largely in developmental stages, and no one can tell exactly where this technology will go in the years to come. If parents pay for private banking only to find that cord blood treatment is cast aside by medical science within a few years, their investments are gone forever.

Even the odds of using privately banked cord blood are very low at present time. Although cord blood treatments are becoming more viable with each passing clinical trial, professionals estimate that the odds of a child receiving a transplant from his or her own cord blood before the age of 20 is approximately 1 in 5,000. Couple this with the fact that the majority of stored cord blood collections are not sufficient for adult transplants. From a purely statistical standpoint, the odds of a mother ever making use of her privately stored cord blood are currently very low.

However, the potential benefits just may be worth the cost for some parents. Cord blood treatments have been effectively used to treat a number of life-threatening medical conditions, and the possibility of saving a child’s life through cord blood treatment is truly priceless in the eyes of many parents. Of course, parents need to educate themselves on the reality of cord blood treatment. Some conditions cannot be treated using cord blood, and this is a fact that private banks don’t advertise.

Before investing in cord blood storage with California Cryobank or any of the other private companies offering this service, parents should make careful considerations. Cord blood treatment is still a developing field, and the odds of using privately stored cord blood for a family are low. Some conditions can’t be treated with a child’s own cord blood. However, private cord blood storage does have the potential to save a life. That alone may make this a worthy investment for many parents.