Cord blood banking is a procedure that more expectant parents are considering; however, you need to think about the overall cost. Up until the 1970’s the umbilical cord was considered medical waste, and was discarded immediately. However, researchers discovered that the blood from within the cord could have potentially lifesaving abilities.
After you have given birth to your child there is an amount of blood which remains in the umbilical cord. This is considered primary blood, and could be beneficial in the future if your child has an illness such as leukemia. The blood is rich in stem cells, and can help both your child and another child if you decide to donate it to a public cord bank.
Donating the stem cells to a public bank is free, which is why some parents are choosing this option; however, there are disadvantages. You need to bear in mind that once you have donated to the public bank you have no rights regarding the donation. The bank can choose how they use the stem cells, and whether to donate to research.
Private cord blood banks are more exclusive, however, you need to bear in mind that there are fees for both storing the stem cells, and yearly maintenance. Some clinics will also charge for the kit that is used to extract the blood, and for the person who performs the procedure. There are several different clinics that you can use, and often they charge similar prices.
A common question that many expectant parents will ask is how much the clinics do charge for this service. You need to ensure that you have all of the figures to enable you to make a clear decision as the budget will play a part in this process. Some parents simply cannot afford to store the stem cell with a private clinic, which is why they choose the free public option.
There are two main fees associated with cord blood banking; these are the initial fee and the annual fee for storage. The initial fee that you will need to pay includes the enrollment and processing of the information, the collection of the blood and storage for the first 12 months. These fees can range between $1500 and $2500, depending on the clinic.
The fees cover a professional to be there during the birth to take the blood that is needed from the umbilical cord. It is then couriered to the clinic, and the stem cells are expertly removed from the blood. The sample is then labeled and stored in a cryogenic process where the sample can be used for up to 25 years.
In many cases, these fees are not covered with your insurance policy, which is why you need to think about the decision carefully. In extreme cases, your insurance may cover the cost, and there is no harm in asking. You may be lucky and discover that your policy covers cord blood banking, and you will only need to find the annual fee.
Once a year, the clinic will ask for a set storage fee which can range between $100 and $150 and must be paid. This will ensure that the clinic continue storing your blood for another 12 months, and will keep it exclusively for you. Some clinics do charge more for the initial fee, and this is when the storage is included in the price.
Payment plans are not usually set up for this style of procedure, but some clinics will allow you to pay the fee off during your pregnancy. This will remove some of the pressure; however, the amount must be paid in full by the time of delivery. Clinics do appreciate how expensive the procedure is for families, which is why they offer referral discounts and individual prices for families who refer.
The debate whether the cost of this procedure is worth the money is often discussed, and many parents feel that in the event the stem cells are needed, no price is too high. However, for some parents the cost is simply too much, and no amount of budgeting will help with the fees. This is often when the free option is chosen as parents feel they are helping someone.
There are no published cases of a child being cured by their own stem cell sample, which is why some people remain skeptical. The clinics make lavish promises, and everything they state is correct, but could be considered misleading. However, parents are worried that they are failing their children by not providing this opportunity in the future.
If you have a history of illnesses in your family, and other family members have dies from some diseases, this may encourage you to find the money. Once you have found the initial fee, the annual fee is affordable and does provide peace of mind. You will know that in the event of your child getting sick, there are options.
The cord blood banks are straightforward to find, and the internet has opened up a whole new world for this style of procedure. Some clinics will charge for a consultation, which seems extreme, and there are other clinics that will provide the information without a fee. The research continues regarding the success of the use of stem cells for childhood illnesses, and positive results are hopeful.
Once you have decided that you are going to go ahead and have the procedure performed after the birth of your child, you need to plan how to pay. Making the decision early on in your pregnancy makes financial sense, but some parents do leave it until the last moment. If possible decide within the first few months, and pay the fee off slowly.
As with all decisions regarding your children, they are personal, and you should make the decision that is right for your family and budget. Who knows what the future holds, but if you can comfortably afford to have the cord blood taken and stored, it may provide you with peace of mind.