Cord blood banking safely and painlessly preserves the stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord so you can utilize them in medical treatments. However, expectant parents need to consider the value of cord blood, any pros and cons and whether their blood bank is public or private. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best cord blood banks in Tucson to help you make the right decision for your family’s future.
Nationwide birth rates are declining, and Tucson is not immune to this trend. In 2016, there were over 11,400 births in Pima County. Two years later the number of births dropped to just over 10,600.
Despite lower birth rates, family-friendly neighborhoods in Tucson, such as Civano and Menlo Park, continue to grow. As new families move to Arizona, there is an increased need for cord blood banking in Tucson.
Stem cells harvested from umbilical cord blood are used to treat over 80 medical conditions, such as:
Sickle cell anemia
Stem cells are especially useful in transplants to help people with blood cancers. In fact, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reports that, in 2016, cord blood was used to help 29% of patients who received a transplant in the U.S.
The science behind using cord blood stem cells has advanced significantly in the last 10 years, and researchers continue to find new ways to utilize them. Studies are already underway to learn if and how stem cells can treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and diabetes.
Cord blood banking pros and cons
Cord blood banking can be an excellent option for you and your family, but it’s important to acknowledge both the pros and cons of cord blood banking in Tucson.
Collection is safe and painless.
Private cord blood banking ensures access to life-saving treatments should you or your loved ones need them.
Medical advancements should increase the possible uses of stem cells over time.
Private cord blood banking is relatively expensive.
Stem cells are only viable for 15 - 25 years.
Your baby’s cord blood might not match a family member who needs medical treatment.
Studies show that there is only a 1 in 217 chance that your baby will actually need the stem cells from banking their cord blood in Tucson. However, these odds do not consider other family members needing stem cells or whether your family is genetically predisposed to certain conditions.
How is cord blood stored?
If you decide to save your baby’s umbilical cord blood, you need to decide weeks ahead of the birth so that the bank and your doctors can plan ahead. After the birth, your obstetrician or hospital staff will collect the cord blood sample using a kit provided by the blood bank.
Once they receive the sample, the blood bank separates the cord blood stem cells from the cord blood tissue. Some private banks have the option to keep both. Umbilical cord stem cells are then stored in bags or vials and cryogenically frozen at 274 degrees below zero.
There are two ways to store cord blood in Tucson: at public or private cord blood banks.
If you opt for a private cord blood bank in Tucson, you pay to have your cord blood stem cells stored for your exclusive use.
If you choose to donate the cord blood to a public blood bank in Tucson, there is usually no cost, but you lose any rights to your stem cells. Your stem cells get listed in a cord blood registry so that anyone that’s a genetic match can utilize them.
When selecting a private cord blood bank in Tucson, it’s important to select a company with accreditation from AABB or the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. By law, blood banks only need to abide by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s regulations, but additional accreditation shows a willingness to go beyond the minimum requirements.
How much does cord blood banking cost in Tucson?
Private cord blood banking in Tucson typically has an initial cost of $1,000 to $3,000 that includes collecting, testing and registering your sample. There is also a storage fee, typically paid annually and costing between $90 and $175.
Health insurance usually does not cover cord blood banking. Some private cord blood banks offer payment plans as well as discounts for bundling costs and paying upfront. There are also financial aid options for families that have a pre-existing need for stem cell therapy.
The Save the Cord Foundation handles public cord blood banking in Tucson, which is only available for babies delivered at the Tucson Medical Center. Donating to Save the Cord Foundation is free, but there are a number of requirements for donors:
Mothers must be over 18
No multiple births
Pregnancy must reach at least 35 weeks
Who can use cord blood?
Anyone with a medical condition treatable by stem cell therapy can use samples donated to a public cord blood registry, as long as there is a tissue match. In some cases, public cord blood banks in Tucson give samples to medical researchers as well.
First- and second-degree relatives are frequently a match to use cord blood stored at private blood banks in Tucson. This includes:
The newborn donor
Aunts or uncles
Possibly even grandparents
As medical advancements continue, the number of people who can benefit from cord blood banking in Tucson will likely increase.
Americord is an FDA-registered company that specializes in collecting and storing umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue. Its retrieval process collects twice as many stem cells as its competitors. Three payment options are available: a one-time fee, a 24-month payment plan or annual storage charges. Customer reviews are quick to point out Americord’s responsiveness to questions and easy collection process.