What are you doing with your baby’s cord blood?

July 08, 2013 9:57 AM by

When a baby's on his or her way, there are no shortage of resources for single mothers or those who have long-term, committed partners by their sides for planning the labor and delivery.

However, there are also other things that women need to keep in mind when they're getting ready for baby, and that can include deciding whether or not to donate your baby's cord blood, which comes from a newborn's umbilical cord and placenta.

Choosing whether or not to make this decision can weigh on a mom-to-be's mind, but with these helpful tips, ladies can get a better sense about whether this is the right option for them!

What's so important cord blood?
Cord blood lingers in the umbilical cord and placenta after a woman gives birth to a baby and is rich with vital nutrients. It also contains stem cells that can in turn be used for a variety of different medical purposes.

Stem cells taken from cord blood are different from embryonic stem cells and – similar to bone marrow – may be utilized by researchers for potential treatments for cancer, as well as immune deficiency diseases, metabolic disorder and other diseases.

Why don't more moms donate?
Despite the benefits of storing cord blood, many moms-to-be don't even think twice about whether it's important to donate – for most, it's because they don't even know that it's an option!

Less than 200 hospitals in the U.S. have a relationship with a public blood bank that can collect and maintain cord blood, which is one of the reasons why the importance of this donation is frequently overlooked. While some hospitals allow people to send in donations, mail-in programs are not widespread and may be difficult for women to follow through with after labor and delivery.

Additionally, the process of donating may be costly for some families. In 2012, the process could cost as much as $2,829, and while some government grants exist to lessen the impact, this can still take a toll over time.

Getting started
If you've decided to make the great leap forward and choose to donate your little one's cord blood, you've got some busy weeks ahead of you! In between your newborn preparation, you'll want to research hospitals that collect cord blood.

From there, you can pick the best one to meet your needs and research the public cord blood bank that works with your hospital of choice. Typically, you should try to make this decision before week 36 of your pregnancy, since banks and hospitals need a few weeks to prepare to collect this.

While you begin working with a public blood bank, you should share your intentions with your healthcare provider. He or she can offer additional insight and can also make sure that the blood is preserved if needed.

You should also be sure to prepare a list of questions for the blood bank you're working with to gain additional insight into the process.

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