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Public Cord Blood Donation More Widely Available

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While expectant parents have long been barraged by information about private cord blood banking, most remain uninterested, either because of the hefty price tag associated with the banking and storage or the low likelihood that a family member could ultimately benefit from the blood in the future. But while cord blood might not save a family member’s life, it could save that of a stranger, which is why a growing number of hospitals now offer cord blood collection programs, reports MSNBC News.

PLUS: The Real Poop on Labor

Until quite recently, cord blood collection had been almost exclusively a private enterprise. Although people who have life-threatening conditions like leukemia and immune system and metabolism disorders can benefit from the cord blood donations because it doesn’t need to match as exactly as bone marrow or other stem cells derived from blood, nearly 97 percent of cord blood is disposed of by hospitals. Public cord blood collection programs help to salvage some of that life-saving cord blood, when they collect it—free of charge to the parents—immediately after birth and list it on the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be the Match Registry.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which does not support private cord blood banking except in cases where an older child has cancer or a genetic disease that could be treated with a sibling’s cord blood, encourages public banking as a way to increase access to stem-cell therapy. In fact, donations helped supply over 1,000 transplants from cord blood units just in 2011.  

PLUS: Cord Blood Banking Guide

Check with your hospital to see is they have a program available if you would like to donate your baby’s cord blood. 

Did you know you could donate your baby’s cord blood? Would you do so—or would you bank it privately as insurance for your family in the future?

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