Ultimately Banking Your Childs Cord Blood Is Worth The Cost
Stem cells from cord blood have been used to save countless lives for almost three decades, and doctors are discovering new ways that cord blood could potentially be used to treat diseases like Alzheimers and ALS. Today, more than 80 diseases, including leukemia and other blood disorders, can be treated with stem cells from cord blood. Since it can be frozen for up to 20 years, stem cells from your childs cord blood will be on-demand in case your childor their siblingsever needs it. To find out the true costs of cord blood banking, please visit our Pricing Calculator.
What Does Medicare Pay For Blood Transfusions
Medicares coverage of blood transfusions may depend partly upon where you receive the blood transfusion and where the health-care provider gets the blood.
Medicare Part A typically covers blood transfusions you receive in the hospital or in a skilled nursing facility. In some cases, you must pay for the first three pints of blood you receive during the calendar year. Thereafter, Medicare Part A generally pays its approved amount for any additional blood you need as well as blood processing charges. You may be responsible for the Part A inpatient stay deductible.
Sometimes the hospital or skilled nursing facility gets blood from a blood bank at no charge. In this case, you wont have to pay for the blood or replace it. If the hospital or skilled nursing facility has to buy blood for you, you must either pay the hospital costs for the first three units of blood you receive during the calendar year or have the blood donated.
What Are The Top Cord Blood Banks
Any cord blood bank youre considering should have AABB accreditation. AABB accreditation is the gold standard in cord blood banking, ensuring that your babys cord blood is collected, stored, processed and distributed safely and effectively. The bank should be registered with the Food & Drug Administration too.
If youre considering a private cord blood bank, youll also want to know:
- How the bank collects and stores the blood. There are different methods, and youll want to make sure that the bank complies with federal standards.
- How viable the banks cord-blood samples are compared with other banks. Youll want to choose a bank that has demonstrated good odds of getting a usable blood sample.
- How stable the company is. You dont want the bank to go out of business, so explore the pros and cons of choosing a lesser-known, smaller bank versus a larger, well-known bank that has been operating for longer.
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Why Is Cord Blood Saved
The blood that flows through the placenta and umbilical cord has a high concentration of stem cells. Stem cells develop to become mature blood cells including:
- red blood cells
- white blood cells
Options For Saving Umbilical Cord Blood
Cord blood can be donated for public use through a public cord blood bank. In this case the costs of collection, transport, donor screening and storage of the unit is covered by the bank. There are no costs to the donor. Units placed in public cord blood bank inventories are then made available on a medical need and best tissue type match to the patients in need of such transplants.
Cord blood can also be stored in private cord blood banks and reserved for future use by the infant or close family members. All costs for collection, transport, testing and storage of cord blood units placed in private cord blood banks are paid by the donor family. These units remain available to the infant or family for potential use under limited medical circumstances. This option is available only for those families who can afford the cost which is generally not covered by any health care insurance.
On a less common basis cord blood units may be collected at the birth of one infant for the use of an identified family member known to be in need of such a transplant. This is referred to as directed or medical need cord blood banking. Costs of such collection and storage may be part of the health care costs of the currently ill family member.
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Private Cord Blood Banks
These are for profit companies that will store the blood for your family specifically with the thought that it could be used for that child or, more likely, their sibling, says Dr. Ruggiero. Private banks charge for storage for personal use, but theres no guarantee that the blood will ever be used for anything.
Many of these banks will store any sample sent to them, regardless of quality, according to Dr. Ruggiero. Indeed, research indicates that cord blood stored in private banks may be of lesser quality in terms of viability and number of stem cellsShearer W, et al. Cord Blood Banking For Potential Future Transplantation. Pediatrics. 2017 140:e20172695. . Private banks also often advertise directly to consumers, pushing cord blood banks as a form of insurance against disease. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend saving cord blood for this reason because of the lack of scientific data to support itShearer W, et al. Cord Blood Banking For Potential Future Transplantation. Pediatrics. 2017 140:e20172695. .
Should I Save My Babys Umbilical Cord Blood A Biological Sibling
If your family has a child with a life-threatening disease that may be treated with a cord blood transplant, you can choose to save your baby’s umbilical cord blood for a biological sibling. The saved cord blood will be stored in a public cord blood bank.
A few things to keep in mind when considering sibling cord blood donation:
- The cord blood bank determines your final eligibility for sibling-directed donation programs.
- Some cord blood banks may charge your insurance company for this service. Others may offer this service at little or no cost.
- A fee will be charged to your insurance company when the cord blood that you stored is used for your other child’s transplant.
- Siblings should have the same biological parents.
- If your family is eligible, the cord blood bank will provide a cord blood collection kit to take to the delivery hospital. The kit will come with instructions about sending the collected cord blood to the cord blood bank for processing and storage.
Below are two cord blood banks that will collect and store umbilical cord blood for eligible families within the United States. Doctors and families can contact these cord blood banks for more information. Cord blood banks should be contacted as early as possible in your pregnancy.
Carolinas Cord Blood Bank
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Cord Blood Banking
The best time to bring up cord blood banking with your practitioner is during your second trimester. That way, youll have plenty of time to make your decision and learn what you need to do in advance.
You might start the conversation by saying, Were thinking about banking our babys cord blood. Can we discuss that so we know what’s involved? Also ask:
- Are we eligible for public cord blood banking? Not every family is. Your doctor can help you figure out if restrictions apply to you. If they do, you may still use a private bank to store your babys cord blood.
- Are you willing to collect our babys cord blood? Its very rare, but you may encounter a doctor or midwife whos unwilling to perform this procedure.
- Does the hospital where Ill be delivering collect cord blood? Many hospitals have agreements with public cord blood banks to help collect and deliver it. If not, you can probably still donate your babys cord blood via a mail-in collection kit, which is also what youd do for private storage.
- Is there a fee for cord blood collection? This applies to both public donation and private storage.
Discuss Your Childbirth Options
The Valley Hospital is committed to educating our patients on every touch point to consider during pregnancy.
We strive to ensure that every family makes an informed decision and look forward to an open discussion on your options for cord blood banking.
For more information on birth experience options at Valley, visit our Childbirth Options page.
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Cost Of Private Cord Blood Banking
The convenience of storing cord blood for potential personal use costs parents a significant amount. The initial collection and processing fees can range from $1,200 for cord blood only and can go up to $2,895 for the top package: cord blood, tissue and placenta stem cells, says Robert Hariri, M.D., founder and CEO of Celularity, a human cellular therapeutic company that owns private cord blood bank LifebankUSA .
After the initial fee, a client pays an annual storage fee once a year around the babys birthday, he adds. The current storage fees for LifebankUSA range from $150 to $400 based on the storage package chosen by the client.
On average, parents who go the private cord blood banking route spend between $300 and $2,300 for collection, processing and initial storage, paying additional annual storage fees after that, according to 2019 research in the Journal of Clinical MedicineBrown KS, Rao MS, Brown HL. The Future State of Newborn Stem Cell Banking. J Clin Med. 2019 8:117. . Additional storage tissue, such as placental tissue or umbilical cord tissue, can cost even more, adding an additional $800 to $1,300 a year, on average.
Why Is Cord Blood Important
Cord blood is a valuable source of potentially life-saving stem cells, which can be used to treat leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other inherited disorders. A cord blood unit has the advantage of not needing to match a patient’s tissue type as closely as required for bone marrow transplants.
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Private Cord Blood Banking
ViaCord is one private banking option for storing your babys umbilical cord blood stem cells. For more information on the benefits of banking and how to enroll in this program, please call or visit ViaCord.
Note: Several companies provide private banking. It is ultimately your decision to choose the option that best suits the needs of your family.
How Is Our Familys Privacy Protected After The Umbilical Cord Blood Unit Is Used For A Transplant
The public cord blood bank keeps the mothers name confidential, and it protects the privacy of the family. Names are not shared with any patient or transplant center. The cord blood unit is identified only by number, which means that you and the patient will not be able to exchange any personal or identifying information.
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What Is Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood banking is a simple and painless procedure that could save lives. Immediately after birth, cord blood is removed from the clamped-off umbilical cord.
After that, the blood is frozen and stored for future use. When stored properly, cord blood can remain viable for more than 20 years.
Though cord blood banking has gotten more attention in recent years, it isnt new. Cord blood has been used to treat serious illnesses since the 1980s. And experts are continuing to learn how it might help with a growing number of diseases and disorders.
There are two ways to store cord blood: You can donate it to a public storage bank, or you can pay for private storage. Both types have pros and cons, and the best option for your family depends on different factors.
What Is The Difference Between Public And Private Donation
Public bankingWhen you donate your babys umbilical cord for public use:
- Its available to any patient in need of a transplant it is not reserved for your family members.
- There is no cost to you because public cord blood banks cover the fees associated with processing, testing and storing donated cord blood.
- Its collected under strict quality standards to make sure the cord blood unit is usable for transplant. If standards arent met, the cord blood unit may be used for research to improve the transplant process for future patients, or the unit will be discarded.
Private storage If you store the cord blood in a family cord blood bank, it is reserved for your own family members. Family cord blood banks are available throughout the country for anyone. You are charged a fee for the collection and an annual fee to store the umbilical cord blood.
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Private Cord Blood Banking Pros
- Cord blood is stored just for your family.
- Cord blood may help treat a family member who is sick and needs a stem cell transplant.
- In the future, your baby may also be able to use her own cord blood to treat diseases.
- Properly frozen and stored cord blood may remain useful for a lifetime, but experts arent sure.
Can You Pay For Cord Blood Storage With An Hsa
Are you wondering if you can pay for cord blood storage with a health savings account , flexible spending account , or health reimbursement arrangement ? You may also be wondering if this item is eligible or ineligible for reimbursement with your HSA, FSA, or HRA.
You may be able to use your HSA, FSA, or HRA to pay for cord blood storage, but only if you have a letter of medical necessity or if your plan specifically allows it.
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What Is Cord Blood Banking Used For
Cord blood stem cells are involved in treating more than 80 different diseases. Most often, theyre used for:
- Cancers like leukemia and lymphoma
- Inherited immune disorders
- Sickle cell disease and anemia
- Metabolic disorders like Gaucher disease
- Other immune, blood and neurological disorders
Many of these conditions require radiation or chemotherapy, which kill harmful cells but also kill healthy cells at the same time. Transplanting cord blood stem cells into patients undergoing those treatments can help produce new blood cells that can in turn improve their health.
Cord blood stem cells are easier to collect, can be stored for longer and can be given to more people than stem cells from bone marrow. They also do a better job boosting a transplant recipients immune system than bone marrow stem cells.
Keep in mind that it’s still very unlikely your child will ever tap into her own saved cord blood later in life. In fact, a baby’s own cord blood cells may be unsuitable to treat any condition that appears down the road because the mutations responsible for that disorder are typically present at birth.
What’s more, the chances that you’ll be able to use your baby’s cord blood to treat an adult family member are also low. That’s because most stored units of cord blood don’t contain enough stem cells to treat anyone weighing more than 90 pounds. Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank does widen the scope of those in need who could benefit.
What Is Public Cord Blood Banking
In public cord blood banking, the baby’s cord blood is donated to a cord blood bank where it’s stored for use by anyone who may need a transplant. It may also be used for medical research.
Remember, cord blood contains stem cells that can treat a host of diseases and the stem cells from your babys cord blood could help save someone elses life. Thats why most major medical organizations encourage public donation.
Donating cord blood is free, and public cord blood banks pay for collection and storage. When parents donate their baby’s cord blood, they sign away all rights to it, and the bank owns the blood meaning there’s no guarantee that it will be available to the family if they need it down the line.
There may be less legwork involved in finding a public bank compared to finding a private one. The easiest way to donate publicly is to deliver in a hospital that works directly with the National Marrow Donor Program.
Public donors have to meet certain eligibility requirements. If youre healthy and are having just one baby , you can probably donate. To find out, check out this list of donor guidelines.
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Are There Other Programs That Help Pay For Cord Blood Banking
Yes. FSAs , HSAs , and HRAs are all special un-taxed accounts you can use to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. FSA and HSA accounts will sometimes cover cord blood banking when medically necessary.
According to the FSA store, account holders are eligible for cord blood storage with a Letter of Medical Necessity from a physician. A Letter of Medical Necessity must state that the cord blood will be used to treat an existing or imminently probable disease.
What Is Cord Blood
Cord blood is extra blood thats left in a babys umbilical cord and placenta after the cord is cut. Babies dont need this leftover blood after theyre born, but it contains cells that could help those who are sick, now or in the future.
Cord blood contains all the same components as normal blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. What makes it special is that its also rich in hematopoietic stem cells special blood-forming stem cells that are similar to those found in bone marrow. These cells can help treat many types of diseases.
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Are There Side Effects
There are no risks or side effects associated with collecting cord blood. Your doctor will remove the blood from the umbilical cord after it is cut, so you and your baby wont feel any pain or discomfort. If your family does need to use the cord blood, experts will thoroughly test the stem cells for genetic diseases and other issues before beginning a transplant.
The only disadvantage to collecting cord blood is that it cant treat genetic conditions. Because it contains the same genetic information as your baby, it will have the same genetic diseases. In this case, your child may be able to use stem cells from a sibling or an unrelated donor, but they can’t use their own stem cells.