Intended parents have plenty of things to think about before, during, and after surrogacy. If you’re a first-time parent, you have the responsibility of organizing a whole new lifestyle to match your new parenthood. Decisions need to be made concerning your work-life balance, finances, childcare, health, and nearly everything else. Being a parent permeates into every aspect of your life. Before receiving the gift of your child, you may also consider one more decision: whether or not to bank your baby’s cord blood.

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood is what’s found in the umbilical cord and placenta right after a baby is born. In the past, people often threw it away. But now, we know it’s really valuable. This is because it has stem cells. Stem cells are special. They can grow into many different types of cells in the body, like blood, brain, heart muscle, or bone cells.

These cells are super important in medicine today. They’re used a lot in regenerative medicine. This is when doctors replace sick cells with healthy ones. Thanks to stem cells from cord blood, doctors can treat many conditions. This includes Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and spinal cord injuries. It also includes blood disorders and different cancers, like leukemia.

Using cord blood and its stem cells is a big deal in health care. It opens up new ways to heal the body and fight diseases. This makes saving cord blood after childbirth a smart choice for many families. It’s not just about helping the newborn but potentially others who could benefit from stem cell therapies in the future.

Pros of Banking Cord Blood

Saving your child’s cord blood acts like a safety net for the future. It keeps these precious stem cells for possible treatments. Your child, or maybe another family member, could need them for health issues that stem cell therapy can fix. This is key if your family has a history of health problems.

Cord blood stem cells are often better for treatments than those from bone marrow. They’re younger, so the body is more likely to accept them without problems. Plus, getting cord blood is easy and doesn’t hurt, unlike bone marrow donations.

Donating to a public cord blood bank can be a lifesaver. Sometimes, a child’s own stem cells aren’t useful for their condition because of genetic reasons. But by donating, your child’s cord blood could help someone else in need. This way, even if your family can’t use it, you could be helping save another person’s life.

Cons of Banking Cord Blood

Cord blood undoubtedly offers significant medical benefits, yet there are considerable drawbacks to consider with banking it. The most notable disadvantage is the financial burden it imposes. Initial costs to bank your child’s cord blood with a private facility range between $1,000 and $2,000. This is coupled with annual fees for maintaining the storage of the cord blood. Given the relatively low likelihood of ever needing to use the stored cord blood, many experts question the value of such an investment, labeling it as an overly expensive form of insurance.

Furthermore, the longevity of stored cord blood cells presents another concern. While generally believed to remain viable for up to 10 years, the effectiveness of these cells for treatments beyond this timeframe remains uncertain. Investing a substantial amount of money in an insurance policy with no guaranteed outcome or effectiveness years down the line can be seen as a significant financial gamble.

Locating accessible blood banks adds to the challenges. The high costs associated with private cord blood banking lead many to consider public banking options as a more viable alternative. However, accessibility to public cord blood banks is far from universal. The availability of such services can vary greatly, depending on your location and whether nearby hospitals support public cord blood donation programs. This inconsistency can significantly hinder the ability of families to either donate or utilize public banking services, presenting a notable barrier to leveraging the potential life-saving benefits of cord blood.

Make an Informed Decision About Banking Cord Blood After Surrogacy

No matter what you decide to do, be sure that you take the time to make an informed decision. Just as you did throughout the surrogacy process, make sure to ask plenty of questions. It may be a good idea to reach out to other parents, especially those that have used surrogacy, and hear their reasoning to bank or not. Get as many differing points of view as you can to make the most educated decision. Finally, trust your intuition. As a new parent, you have the right to make the best decisions for your family regardless of other’s opinions. For more information and answers to other questions about surrogacy and intended parenthood, head to the SPS website or contact (949) 397-2920.