Should we consider cord blood banking… public vs. private?
The debate about whether or not to privately store your child’s umbilical cord blood is one that currently and likely will continue to be ongoing. It is very likely that you have seen advertisements in your obstetrician’s office which offer private storage (for a fee) of your child’s cord blood as a sort of medical investment for their future.
Current publications agree that the likelihood of a child using his or her own privately banked cord blood at some point in their first 21 years of life is very remote.
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation discourage the private banking of cord blood when there is no clear indication for its use.
A 2009 survey of pediatric physicians who regularly perform procedures which utilize previously stored cord blood, be it public or private, were asked about scenarios in which they would recommend private cord blood banking.
When asked if they would recommend private cord blood banking to a couple (of northern European descent) with one healthy 3-year old who are expecting their second child, zero physicians surveyed would give their recommendation. 11% of physicians surveyed would recommend such banking when the parents were of mixed ethnicities.
The number of physicians supporting private banking increases when there is a family member with a current or potential need to undergo a stem cell transplant. This instance is supported by the AAP, Council of Ethical and Judicial affairs, the American Medical Association, and American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
Although the likelihood of your child needing their own cord blood in their lifetime is remote, there still are thousands of children and adults who may potentially benefit from receiving your child’s publicly stored cord blood. The AAP encourages parents to consider public cord banking, which is done at no cost to parents.
Before making a decision on cord blood banking, parents should discuss options with their obstetrician, pediatrician, and other health care providers.