When deciding between privately storing your child’s cord blood for your exclusive use or donating it for availability to the general public, there are several differences to consider.
You can choose either option and can even begin with private cord blood banking and later donate your child’s stem cells once your family feels they are no longer needed. Of course, this option is only available if you meet the requirements for public cord blood donation.
With private cord blood banking, you have exclusive use of your newborn’s stem cells. Private cord blood banking ensures a perfect genetic match to your baby, as well as a partial match to other family members. If needed, the stem cells are immediately available and ready for use, whether for treatment or to enroll your child in a clinical trial.
You can use your stem cells for both FDA approved and experimental treatments. This flexibility has proven lifesaving for conditions like apraxia, a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to communicate. Although not on the FDA list of approved uses, HSC’s have been used successfully to treat this disorder and enable children to speak. There is also research into the efficacy of using HSCs to treats Cerebral Palsy and Autism.
With private cord blood banking, you pay for collection, processing, and annual storage fees. Most private cord blood banks offer a guarantee in the event your child’s stem cells fail to engraft and you need to find a matching donor from a public cord blood bank.
Public cord blood banks collect, process, and store donated umbilical cord blood for public use. In the event your child is sick, there is a nationwide network of public cord blood banks available to search for a genetic match. Unlike private cord blood banking, stem cells can only be used for FDA approved treatments, excluding the potential for experimental treatments for disorders like apraxia, Cerebral Palsy, and other diseases.
There is no cost to donate to a public cord blood bank, but there are fees for withdrawing the stem cells for transfusion. These may be covered by insurance, depending on your provider and policy.