Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
The blood in a baby’s umbilical cord has the power to save lives. By choosing to bank this cord blood, parents may help their child, a family member or even a stranger. Many states in the US, including Ohio, have passed laws requiring the posting of information about umbilical cord blood banking. Please ask your health care provider about your options for collecting and banking your child’s cord blood at delivery. Resources and information, including a downloadable handout, about both public and private umbilical cord blood banking were developed by the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.
What is “cord blood”?
The term “cord blood” is used for blood that is drawn from the umbilical cord and the placenta after a baby is born. Unless parents decide otherwise, these blood cells are discarded as medical waste. Cord blood is collected because it contains stem cells, which have the ability to renew themselves. These cells offer lifesaving medical benefits and are different from both the embryonic stem cells in a fertilized egg and any stem cells obtained from a child or adult.
How are cord blood stem cells used?
Today a growing percentage of stem cell transplant patients are receiving cord blood to cure over 70 diseases. Seventy percent of patients who need a transplant of blood-forming stem cells do not have a matching donor in their own family, and their physician must search public registries of donors. The National Marrow Donor Program is dedicated to matching US patients with donors of either bone marrow or cord blood from anywhere in the world.
What choices do I have for the storage of my child’s cord blood?
You always have the choice to do nothing and let the cord blood be discarded after birth. The choice to save the blood for personal use in a private bank is open to any family but there is a cost involved. Finally, you may choose to donate your blood to a public bank and possibly help a stranger. The choice to donate to a public bank is only available to mothers who meet the eligibility criteria but there is no cost involved. Not every hospital is set up to collect cord blood for public banking but you can still donate by obtaining a kit. There are currently four hospitals in Ohio that are accepting donations.
Whatever choices you have and whatever decision you make, remember there is no single correct answer for all families. Only you know which choice is right for you and your family.
Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Newsletter
Cleveland Cord Blood Bank: Ohio's only public cord blood bank
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion http://www.acog.org/from_home/publications/press_releases/nr02-01-08-2.cfm
“New Postpartum Trend: Mailing in Your Cord Blood” from Time Magazine http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2004122,00.html
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/119/1/165
Dyane Gogan Turner MPH, RD/LD, IBCLC
Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Child and Family Health Services
Child and Family Health Services Program Supervisor
246 North High Street, 6th floor, Columbus, OH 43215
Last Updated: 9/29/2014