When it comes to cord blood banking, parents have two options to consider. They can donate their child’s cord blood to what is called a public bank, or they can store their child’s cord blood at a private bank, which is also commonly referred to as a family bank. Below is a brief definition of each and some of their most defining attributes.
Public Cord Blood Banks provide parents the opportunity to donate their child’s cord blood to society.
Ownership of Cord Blood : By donating, the family waives all ownership rights and no longer legally owns the cord blood. The cord blood will be collected and the facility to which they donate will decide to use it as they best see fit.
Cost : There is no cost to the parents that decide to donate their child’s cord blood.
Private Cord Blood Banks provide parents the opportunity to store their child’s cord blood for their own personal use.
Ownership of Cord Blood : By privately storing the child’s cord blood, the family owns the rights and can determine when to use it.
Cost : Cord blood banking costs can vary greatly between private cord blood banks, but parents should expect to spend anywhere from $900 to $2,500, plus an annual storage fee of $85-$150 per year.
The major distinction between the two types of banks is the fact that you are either donating the cord blood or paying a bank to privately store it for you. With a private bank, parents own the cord blood and have the right to use the cord blood however and whenever they want. Where as with a public bank, the cord blood is donated to the bank and thus the bank owns the cord blood and determines what to do with it.
Your Family’s Banking Decision
Although this is an important decision, before you get too stressed out about it you should realize that the decision may already be made for you. Due to the expensive cost of maintaining a public cord blood bank, there may not be a donation program available at your hospital. In order to donate cord blood you must pass a medical screening, sign up months before your due date, and be delivering at one of the hospitals that provides a donation program.
Should you be lucky enough to have the choice between donating and privately banking your child’s cord blood, then you’ll need to carefully review all the research and decide what is right for your family. There is no right answer! The decision is very personal and you need to evaluate what is best for you and your family.