The Pros and Cons of Cord Blood Donation

There are so many misconceptions and debates around the collecting of cord blood as well as the use of stem cells. Because of this, many families have a hard time deciding whether or not cord blood donation is for them. Breaking down cord blood collection, donation, and use into pros and cons will likely help your family make the decision that is best for you. These pros and cons are concrete facts; you’ll have to apply opinions, moral implications, etc on your own.

The Cons of Cord Blood Donation

  • Cord blood donation is not something that can be done on a whim, a family must plan ahead to be sure that they have a kit for their chosen cord blood bank to make the collection. Many families find out when it’s too late to get involved with cord blood donation as it’s recommended that you contact a cord blood bank of your choice by the 34thweek of pregnancy.
  • Odds that you’ll use the collected cord blood yourself is low. The odds are that just on in 2,700 uses the cord blood and only one in 1,400 has a family member that will use it. Are these odds enough for you to go through the time and expense of collecting the cord blood?
  • Cord blood collection is typically very expensive if you want to store it privately. It can cost about $1,500 for the collection as well as $500-$700 in start up costs and another $100 a year to store the cord blood. You’re talking about a huge expense for something you may never use.
  • Cord blood usually measures just three to five ounces, making it a very limited resource. The stem cells that can be harvested from such a limited supply means that it just wouldn’t be enough when you are talking about an adult that might need the transplanted cells. For the storage to be useful, a child would need to use the stem cells, as the supply just wouldn’t be adequate for an adult.
  • Public banks aren’t easy to give to. Only 30% of the blood donated to public banks actually gets banked because of health issues and small samples.

The Pros of Cord Blood Donation 

  • Having cord blood available to you for future use is almost like an insurance policy.
  • The use of cord blood and contained stem cells will become more common in the future as we develop ways to cure more cancers, diseases, even epidemics such as diabetes. There will be no limit to what stem cells can do as they can adapt and help to repair damaged cells within the body.
  • Having stored cord blood will make transplantation easier if your child should need it in the future. One’s own stem cells are more likely to be accepted by the body, preventing serious complications such as graft-versus-host disease.

One must weigh the pros and cons against one another to decide how to be swayed. There is a lot of good that can come from cord blood storage, but only you can decide if that good outweighs the cons.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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