Fatherly Stuff: Cord Blood Banking: Get Educated!

Feb 21, 2014

Cord Blood Banking: Get Educated!

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

I'm proud to say that I was present for the birth of both of my children, and I wasn’t just behind her shoulder either. For both occasions as I held my wife’s hand and coached her through each agonizing push, I also peeked over to the other side of her gown and witnessed first-hand the miracle of life. It was breathtaking, emotional… and a little messy.  Once they arrived, I was given the honor of cutting their umbilical cords and each time, they gathered up that cord, along with the placenta and unceremoniously disposed of it all as bio hazardous waste. However, had I known then what I know now, there’s no way that I would’ve allowed that to happen. Had my wife and I understood that within that so-called “waste”  contained precious, life-saving cord blood, we would have sought out more information on how to collect and store it.

Stem cells contained in a newborn's umbilical cord blood possess unique characteristics that distinguish them from other types of stem cells found in the body. Cord blood is rich in potentially life-saving blood and immune cells termed hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These HSCs are biologically younger and are more flexible compared to adult stem cells from other sources like bone marrow. Once stored, they can last up to 20 years. Using cord blood has a number of unique qualities and advantages, such as a lower risks of complications when used in transplants and the immediate availability of it can minimize disease progression in early treatment. There have even been advances in reversing child hearing loss in some cases. There have been numerous cases in which families were able to either save the lives of their children or even cure illnesses because of it. In addition, cord blood is readily available and can be collected easily without risk to the mother or newborn, regardless of vaginal birth or C-section.

During both of my wife’s pregnancies, we were somewhat aware of the concept of cord blood banking, but we didn’t really know too much about it. In fact, I cannot recall a time where our OBGYN even brought it up during any of our appointments.  Now, why would a medical professional neglect to mention in even the slightest capacity such a clearly beneficial, harmless process? I’m not sure. But I do have a theory:  The process of collecting and storing Cord Blood is not cheap and the associated costs are currently not recognized by the US Government as a qualified medical expense. This means that families are unable to take advantage of tax free vehicles such as a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Healthcare Spending Account (HSA) to cover the costs.   

For most people (including myself), the cost alone is enough of a barrier to give up on the idea all together. Fortunately, there’s hope. There is currently legislation being considered in the US House of Representatives dubbed the Family Cord Blood Banking Act. If passed, large numbers of families will finally be able to receive tax benefits from cord banking expenses. As the general public gains greater awareness about this process, it will gradually become more accessible and undoubtedly save many lives in the future.

We haven’t decided 100% on whether or not we will have a third child. If we do however, we will definitely be incorporating cord blood banking into the conversation. As a dad, I instinctively want to do everything in my power to protect my family and cord blood banking is simply an extension of that desire.  

To learn about Cord Blood Banking and how it can benefit your family, please visit-www.cordbankingbasics.com

Anyone who visits until February 24, 2014 and completes an information request will receive a $200 discount on banking a newborn’s umbilical cord blood with Cord Blood Registry. Click HERE for more details!

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