Expectant parents are met with several options for cord blood banking. The promise of possible treatments for horrific diseases makes the spendy options of private cord blood banking seem appealing. What parent wants to be on the other end looking back and saying to themselves "If we had only..."The full story, as is often the case, is more complicated. The American Academy of Pediatrics just updated their position on cord blood banking. The advice boils down to two times when they recommend banking cord blood:
- Private cord-blood banking if the newborn has a full sibling with a condition that could be treated with a transfusion of cord blood.
- Donation to a public cord blood bank where the blood can be used by anyone in need with a matching type.
The companies marketing private blood banking services would have consumers believe that cord blood is a magical cure-all for any number of conditions. Viacord says cord blood "offers potential lifesaving treatments for your child or a family member," and offers a list of potential diseases that could be treated with cord blood. What is included at the bottom of the page (following the asterix) is the information that "the odds that a family without a defined risk will
need to use their child's umbilical cord blood are low. There is no
guarantee that the umbilical cord blood will be a match for a family
member or will provide a cure."
One is then left to the idea that there is a lot of wisdom in the recommendation that public cord blood banking is a good idea. Private cord blood banking on the other hand seems like a favorable option in only specific circumstances.