Every year, countless soon-to-be parents prepare for their small bundle of joy to enter the world. Along with buying many of the things that the baby will need months in advance, a great deal of preparation is made to ensure the health of the baby once born. Between ultrasounds, best practices while pregnant, and vitamins, parents strive to ensure that their baby begins life with the best possible start.
As science and medicine continue to advance, new methods of care are developed to help ensure the health of the baby. One of the most promising techniques only recently gaining in popularity is umbilical cord blood storage. What is umbilical cord blood storage? Let’s take a look at this process. In addition, let’s spend some time reviewing private cord blood banking. Along with naming some of the primary companies involved in the storage of umbilical cord blood, we will also review some things you should watch out for when engaging in this process.
Understanding What Cord Blood Is All About
It is perfectly normal to want the best for your baby. In part fueled by a growing body of scientific research, as well as, the true desire for parents to provide the best for their child’s health, umbilical cord blood has grown in popularity. Simply put, umbilical cord blood contains a high level of stem cells in it. These stem cells are perfect if and when your child requires a stem cell treatment. In addition to helping your child, it can also be used in your child’s health as they grow older, even providing a means to better recover from cancer treatments.
The process for acquiring umbilical cord blood is simple and straightforward. Immediately after a baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped. This is standard regardless of what you do next. For acquiring umbilical cord blood, a needle is placed into the umbilical cord with the other end attached to a bag. Utilizing gravity, the umbilical cord drains into the bag. As the entire system is closed, there is a reduced chance of getting either a fungal or bacterial infection as a result. The process causes a minimal amount of pain and is not complicated. In the end, the one thing you can do to ensure that the process goes on without a hitch is to have all equipment purchased prior to the birth. Your physician should be made aware of your plans long before the birth to ensure that he or she is familiar with using the correct equipment. That being said, the hospital should keep track of local storage as well as transportation to a long-term storage location. Consider the cost to be around $2,000 for the procedure, equipment, and first year of storage. In addition, the transportation cost can raise this higher. As a final note, the above quote is an average, meaning that it may be more or less depending on who you to go for the equipment, the cost your hospital charges, the cost for short-term storage, and the cost of long-term storage. As always, be sure to carefully discuss this process with your doctor prior to moving forward.
Private Cord Blood Banking
Congratulations! You are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby. So, what’s next? The blood banking of umbilical blood will have to occur somewhere. While most people consider their hospital a storage location, a hospital will only store material for a short amount of time before shipping it out to a long-term storage facility. These long-term storage facilities, also known as private cord blood banking, operate in partnership with the hospital. However, you should know that while they operate in partnership, they are entirely different entities meaning that you are essentially dealing with two different groups when planning cord blood banking.
Different companies choose central locations for their storage. Usually, a company will have 2 or 3 places for storage located around the US. The first thing you will have to do with these companies is to arrange storage through them directly or through your hospital. More often than not, the hospital will have a relationship already in place and the majority of this process will be automated. You will probably have to choose a transportation method for the umbilical cord blood. In addition, you may want to consider getting insurance for the material. The insurance is inexpensive and guarantees that if something occurs during transport that you are covered financially.
How Much Banking Cost
One of the first questions that many people ask is how much does cord blood banking cost? The truth is, the majority of the cost you are going to have to pay is in the initial operation and storage. While these fees can be on average around $2,000, yearly storage once at the facility is relatively low, especially when compared to other medical storage. While fertility storage can range between $150-$300 a year, private blood banking is around $100 a year. The primary challenge many soon-to-be parents will have is in covering the initial cost. $100 a year is not that bad when compared to paying 200% more up front. Many times, insurance will not cover the procedure, leading individuals to have to cover these cost out of pocket.
While $100 is the average cost per year for umbilical cord banking, costs can range much higher or lower depending on who you go with and if they currently have discount plans regarding the cost for the first few years. There is also the possibility for your insurance covering some of these costs, providing less of a financial burden.
Along with the yearly costs associated with storage, there is a one-time cost associated with shipping the material to its location. This cost is generally around $100 dollars as well. Insurance is typically around $20 if you want to ensure yourself financially against the potential for loss.
What Are Some Private Banking Companies?
Private banking companies currently have a monopoly on long-term storage. While public banks exist, they are few and far between. With that in mind, there is a very good chance that you will be going with a private banking company. There are several different options when it comes to private banking.
Alpha Cord (AC) blood banking is a popular option for many parents interested in umbilical cord blood storage. With years of history providing this service, AC excels at cord blood, as well as, cord tissue. AC sells its services as a complete kit. This means that you get the collection kit, the processing fees, and the shipping all covered under a single fee. You should note that this may not cover the hospital costs of performing the procedure. At $895 for 1st year of storage, as well as everything included above, the price can be paid in monthly installments of $89. In addition, every additional year of storage is $115. Their second option for cord blood and cord tissue storage together is a bit more expensive, but worth it if you want tissue samples saved as well. For a limited time, AC is charging the same $895 for both, with everything listed above included. However, if you want 18 years of pre-paid storage, as well as, everything else included, you can get it as low as $2,895, or $255 a month.
Similar to AC, Maze Cord Blood (or MCB), looks to provide all in one services for your needs. MCM offers a single package that costs $2,490 for cord blood and $3,490 for cord blood and cord tissue samples. Equivalent to $599 initial purchase for equipment kit, as well as, $99 a month for 20 years of storage, MCB looks to make the process as simple as possible for you. If you can afford the cost, then going with MCB will mean not having to worry about anything after the samples are taken.
New England Cord Blood Bank, or NECBB, offers several different options depending on what your needs currently are. They include cord blood or cord blood and tissue banking as their primary options. In addition, they have either an annual or a 20 year-pre-paid plan. Their cheapest plan is $1,599. This includes sending the samples to NECBB, having them process it, and one year of storage. Beginning the process also requires a deposit of $150. The annual storage fee for materials is $130. Finally, going for full storage and a 20-year plan comes to $5,979. While not as cheap as other options out there, NECBB provides a range of services where other private banks like MCB and AC simply can’t go.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Every year, parents decide on whether or not to go forward with cord blood banking. While the research still may be out, you can at least, get an idea of how much it is going to cost, as well as, what the procedure will entail.