There are two types of umbilical cord blood banks operating in United States, Public and Private. Private cord blood banks are strictly reserved for the child and family members. You will have to pay a huge fee for cord blood collection by private banks. Public cord blood banks collect umbilical cord blood free of charge. The cord blood is then stored in the facility for any future transplant. Any matching person can use the cord blood available from public cord blood banks.
Private And Public Cord Blood Banks
Private cord blood banks are meant for private use only. If you donate your child's cord blood to a private blood bank in U.S, you can use it if any member of your family in future requires a stem cell treatment. Stem cells of your child will be a perfect match for any of your family members. Another case is when the child himself develops a stem cell curable disease, it can be treated with his own cord blood. Cord blood can be stored indefinitely. Private cord blood banks in U.S charge a collection fee up-front and yearly storage fee. Private cord blood banking in U.S costs between $2000 to $3000 up-front and around $100 each year for storage. Private cord blood banking is strictly reserved for the child and family members.
Public cord blood banks do not charge any fee from the donor. The collected unit will be stored in the facility until a patient with matching tissue type arrives for transplant. The difference between private and public cord blood bank is that in public banks, the unit is not stored specifically for the donor or family members.
Advantages of Donating To Public Cord Blood Banks
Apart from the distinct financial gains, donating to public cord blood bank is considered as an act of kindness. It can save someone's life, you might just be saving a family indirectly. In addition to saving others' life, it can save yours as well. If your child or any family member develops a disease, you can make use of the same unit you donated (if it is available).
Stem cells are mainly used for hereditary type disease treatment, so if you treat your child with his own cord blood, chances are that the same disease can come up once again as the stem cell contain the same gene that is prone to the same disease. So it is better to get matching cord blood from a different child, especially for diseases like leukaemia.
How to Donate Cord Blood to Public Banks
First of all let me thank you for your kindness to even consider donating cord blood. The world is not evil after all, happy to see people like you coming forward. Umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells which can be used to treat life threatening diseases. Your simple act of kindness can save someone's life or even a family for that matter.
First check whether your hospital has an option for donating cord blood. If yes, then you must talk to your doctor about your decision approximately 3 months before your possible delivery date. Contact your nearest public cord blood bank and they will make arrangements for cord blood collection. Once the delivery is over, the umbilical cord and placenta will be tested. This test will determine whether the cord blood is suitable for transplant or not. All testing fee will be paid by public cord blood bank.
You will have to meet some basic health guidelines to donate cord blood. It is similar to something that we get during blood donation. Basically you just need to be a healthy lady expecting one baby (twins are not allowed).
Fill out the forms about the health history of you and your family. This ensures that your blood doesn't carry any kind of life threatening diseases that can be transferred to another person. The medical team from the public cord blood bank will analyze the data and decide whether you can donate. You are highly unlikely to qualify if you had any kind of blood borne diseases in the past.
Once you qualify, you must sign a consent form. You must keep a copy of the consent form just in case you need to contact them in future.