Baby magazines are peppered with advertisements for cord blood banks urging parents to have their babies' cord blood stored. For an average starting cost of $1,800 and yearly fees around $125 a bank will store your little one's umbilical and placental blood-making stem cells. These cells would be retrievable if your child (or perhaps its sibling) develops a life-threatening but treatable-by-stem-cells illness such as leukemia or lymphoma.
I don't know about your family, but I don't think that cord blood banking will be a wise insurance choice for our family, given its expense and the small chance our child(ren) will have of developing one of the applicable diseases.
Today, however, I read about an option that does sound right up our pro-life alley: cord blood donation. An article in an old issue of Focus on the Family magazine (which I love, by the way) shared one mom's decision to donate her sons' cord blood to a public bank for use by any matching patient. Intrigued, I did a little research online.
To donate cord blood the donor parents must complete medical documentation, receive a collection kit and instruct birth attendants in its use, and contact the bank to pick up the donation after the delivery. All free! Read more here:
- Information from the National Marrow Donor Program
- An informative article at Charity Guide
- More from Health Resources and Service Information, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Alas, the list of participating hospitals revealed that we will not be able to donate at our hospital - in fact, no Charlotte-area hospitals are participating at this time. Perhaps it's time to do some advocacy with the hospital?