What is a Private Cord Blood Bank?

S. Frost
S. Frost
The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.

A private cord blood bank is a private facility that stores umbilical cord blood for the donor family's use. Cord blood banking is considered by many parents because of the stem cells that the blood contains. Stem cell transplants are used to treat certain diseases, such as leukemia and lymphomas.

Choosing a private cord blood bank allows the family to retain ownership of the cord blood, unlike a public cord blood bank, which transfers ownership of the blood to the bank. By retaining ownership, cord blood in a private bank is used only for the donor's family. The family decides how the cord blood is used. A cord blood donation to a public cord bank might go to anyone who is a match.

An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.
An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.

The use of a private cord blood bank comes with a large cost. The process typically costs $1,000 US Dollars (USD) to $2,000 USD or more for the initial collection process. The private cord blood bank handles the collection and processing of the cord blood, which is then frozen and stored until it is needed. The family also pays a yearly storage fee of about $100 USD to $150 USD. The high cost might be prohibitive for some families, especially with the usual expenses of a newborn.

The security of having a child's cord blood stored is appealing to some parents, but the family might never need the stem cells. Only certain diseases are treatable with stem cells, and no one in the family might ever develop one of the diseases. The stem cells from one child typically aren't enough to treat an adult, so the privately stored donation might not help a parent in need.

Family members aren't always a suitable match for a stem cell transplant. Siblings are sometimes a match, so storing a baby's cord blood at a private cord blood bank is more of an insurance for his or her siblings. If the donor child becomes sick, his or her stem cells might contain a genetic mutation related to the disease. Using the child's own stem cells would place those same mutated cells back into his or her body.

A private cord blood bank gives parents the option to store cord blood in the rare case that a family member needs a transplant and matches the donor. The number of diseases that can be treated are limited, but scientific advancements might result in additional uses for stem cells from collected cord blood. With ownership in the family's hands, the private bank option means more control over those potential treatments in the future.

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    • The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
      By: hansenn
      The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
    • An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.
      By: massimo maghenzani
      An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.