Umbilical cord blood banking: Things you should know

You must have seen those flyers and posters of umbilical cord blood banking every time you have visited your gynecologist during pregnancy. And every time you must have wondered what is it. What are the benefits? What is the cost? etc. Let’s discuss all these queries in this article.

What is umbilical cord blood banking?

Umbilical cord blood banking

An umbilical cord is attached to the baby’s navel and connects him to the mother’s placenta in the womb. This cord consists of

  • one vein that carries blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the baby
  • two arteries that return deoxygenated blood and waste products, such as carbon dioxide, from the baby back to the placenta

The fluid present in this cord is rich in stem cells. These stem cells can morph into different forms of blood, that can be used to treat diseases like leukemia and certain cancers, sickle-cell anemia, and some metabolic disorders. Hence, post-delivery the doctors cut the cord and extract the stored fluid (blood) in it. The procedure of this extraction and keeping it cryogenically for future health use is called stem cell blood banking.

Umbilical cord blood banking benefits

Umbilical cord blood banking benefits are many:

  • A baby’s umbilical cord can save lives of parents, siblings, paternal and maternal grandparents
  • Easy to collect
  • No risk for child or mother
  • Less risk of infection
  • Cheaper than bone marrow collection

Disavdantages

  • Stem cells collected from blood is seldom used for the baby. He will get it from someone else when needed.
  • Very expensive
  • Annual fee for the bank storage

Umbilical cord blood in India

Some popular stem cell collection banks in India are:

Umbilical cord blood banking cost in India

In India, stem cell banking costs can vary between INR 20,000 to INR 50,000 depending on the term for which you choose to store your baby’s stem cells. In addition, blood banks charge annual storage fees. You can visit their websites (by clicking the links provided in the list above) for their latest pricing.