August 2011 Moms

Which Cord Blood Banking co. did you decide to go with?

We have just started the process of seeking out the companies that offer cord blood banking.  It was quite a task to get my DH on board with me when it comes this this but he's finally on board and now I'm looking for your input as to:

  • what company you are going with
  • why
  • how much was the initial cost
  • expense per month to bank the blood
  • have you found any hidden costs

Re: Which Cord Blood Banking co. did you decide to go with?

  • You have to be really careful in your research! A lot of the cord blood banks won't guarantee you YOUR cord blood. You pay a fee and you will get cord blood if you need it but it won't necessarily be your own. Because of this, DH and I decided to forgo the blood banking.
  • We are using CorCell.  I chose them because I worked for a health insurance company for many years and that was the company they recommended as part of the benefit package to employees.  The initial cost is about $1500, I got $350 off with my insurance and an additional $200 off because of a promotion they were running.  The annual cost is $125 per year.  I haven't found any hidden costs.
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  • You always get your cord blood back if you choose to bank it privately.  If you need to use it, certain genetic markers need to be matched to use it.  Thus, they can't give you any random cord.  

     Other than that, despite what the companies say, the cord blood is not useful for the child that you got it from.  They are most commonly used for bone marrow transplants if a child develops certain cancers.  Since these cancers are believed to begin in utero, the cancerous cells will be found within the cord blood rendering it useless.  The same concept holds true for metabolic diseases.  There are only a few rare circumstances when it can be used for the kid it came from.  If you have a second child who needs a transplant and they are a match to the first child, then the cord blood may be used.  However, due to problems and inconsistencies in the banking process, many physicians choose to get the stem cells from the child in a different way.   Private cord blood banks aren't regulated by the FDA while public ones are.  Therefore, their processes aren't regulated.  Additionally, if enough cells aren't collected, the company is not obligated to tell you.  You will pay for years of banking despite that the cord blood collected is insufficient for use.  Public banks only accept about 30% of the cords collected due to issues of inadequate volume/cells collected/potency...  Private banks will always bank your cord blood despite these issues.  Just some food for thought.  I'm going to donate mine to a public bank.

  • We will not be banking cord blood, based on our research and my husband's medical opinion, it doesn't seem like it is worth it in our opinion (in fact, I think the way these companies pull on new parents' heart strings with lots of fear tactics and little scientific backing is appalling). 
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  • I have a friend who received a transplant from his own daughter's blood, that they had just banked a few months earlier. It saved his life for a couple years until he developed another kind of cancer. In any case, I think it is a great thing to do. If I can donate, I'll be donating to a public bank, so my donation can do the most good. 
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  • image homediva:
    We will not be banking cord blood, based on our research and my husband's medical opinion, it doesn't seem like it is worth it in our opinion (in fact, I think the way these companies pull on new parents' heart strings with lots of fear tactics and little scientific backing is appalling). 

    I agree with you completely.  Also my OB is expecting his firs grandchild and he said that his daughter would not be banking.  He said if you were my daughter I would tell you the same its a waste of money.  The chance of you being able to use the blood are very slim.

  • image citiprincess:

    image homediva:
    We will not be banking cord blood, based on our research and my husband's medical opinion, it doesn't seem like it is worth it in our opinion (in fact, I think the way these companies pull on new parents' heart strings with lots of fear tactics and little scientific backing is appalling). 

    I agree with you completely.  Also my OB is expecting his firs grandchild and he said that his daughter would not be banking.  He said if you were my daughter I would tell you the same its a waste of money.  The chance of you being able to use the blood are very slim.

    Yep.  I'd like to look into public donation, but will not privately bank.
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  • image homediva:
    We will not be banking cord blood, based on our research and my husband's medical opinion, it doesn't seem like it is worth it in our opinion (in fact, I think the way these companies pull on new parents' heart strings with lots of fear tactics and little scientific backing is appalling). 

    Same here

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  • We will be banking privately.  Unfortunately, my family has been in a position to need a transplant and it was successful and it was done with their own cord blood (so for the OP who said you can't use your own, that is completely untrue).  Therefore, there is no question in my mind that it is worth every penny.  Also, the whole concept of private banking is that you have YOUR OWN cord blood there if you need it.  You don't get somebody else's, you get your own.  And private banking is regulated, just not in the same way as public banks.  It doesn't make the regulation better or worse, only different.    In addition, my OB strongly recommends private banking as do my SILs, both MDs.  

     With all of that said, we are going with Viacord mostly because they have the most transplant experience.   My SILs both banked all of their kids cord blood through Viacord as well.  StemCyte was the other company recommended by my OB.  The costs are fairly straightforward and are on the websites.  The only "hidden" cost (and nothing to do with the bank itself) is that my OB charges $200 extra (not covered by insurance) to do it.  

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  • So, I am a transplant physician and that post is true.  It can rarely be used for the same person.  There are a few rare diseases including aplastic anemia and neuroblastoma where they can be used. No private company has a lot of experience with transplants since they are so rarely used.  If you are going to bank privately, Cord:Use is the best company.  Joanne Kurtzberg, who is one of the leading physicians/researchers in cord blood, is the medical director of that company.  Lastly, most physicians who are not in the field are often grossly misinformed about the utility of cord blood.  This includes most pediatricians and obs.  Try calling a local pediatric bone marrow transplant physician for advice.  And, lastly, the private banks are not regulated.  That is why their quality control practices are practically nonexistent at times.  The FDA is starting an investigation into these companies because of the false claims and faulty practices.  If you have a family member who needs your child's cord blood, your local public bank will often bank it for you and hold it for that person.  Please check your sources before giving out faulty information.  It isn't fair to the other mothers on this website.  
  • To the poster who pointed out the flaws in private banking, you're my hero for phrasing this so clearly. I wish more parents understood this and what a racket the private companies are. A very good friend of ours is a pediatric bone marrow transplant specialist and would agree with every word you're saying. She said that she hasn't seen ONE instance where the child's cord blood could be used from the private banking and that the cell counts are often inadequate, although they continue to charge.  

     

    In addition, I'm a pediatrician and am often asked to provide recommendations to my patients. I'm a big fan of public banks and have donated my children's cord blood to public banks at each delivery.  I would recommend this to anyone and frequently do.

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  • I would almost never use a privately banked cord because of the poor quality of the cells. It's too risky to prep a patient for transplant by killing off their bone marrow and hoping that a poorly banked cord blood will engraft.  You are putting your child at risk for infection, bleeding, drug toxicity,...  I would prefer to get stem cells from a sibling in other ways that are less risky to the patient.  Cord bloods are most commonly used for siblings of the donor.  
  • I work in the medical field as well doing clinical laboratory tests on patients with blood cancers and I agree with all the posts that caution against cord blood banking.  We are not banking our cord blood for those reasons.  For anyone that is and that has done their research, I am most curious about this...what happens to all of the cord blood if one of these private companies goes bankrupt?  I haven't been able to find anything that states what happens and I'm very curious. 
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  • Hi ! I work for Americord Registry and we have better pricing for cord blood banking than our competitors. Please see http://cordadvantage.com/product-comparison.html for a pricing comparison.
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