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With his youngest two children Dr. Robert Aepli had blood from their umbilical cords saved in a special blood bank. The process of cord-blood banking is very simple and safe.
"After the baby is taken care of the doctor merely releases a clamp on the umbilical cord and the blood is collected into a blood collection system. It is then the family's responsibility to Fed Ex or UPS the specimen promptly to the cord blood banking center," says Dr. Aepli.
But why do parents choose cord blood banking?
"The umbilical cord blood yields stem cells, which are also called master cells, which can differentiate into many different organ systems," he says.
Those stem cells could provide a cure for several diseases the child may face when they're older.
"If there is a problem within the family in the future where a serious disease is present and a bone marrow transplantation is indicated, it's much more likely that a successful bone marrow transplant can be carried out."
Dr. Aepli says cord-blood banking hasn't taken off in our area, because of the cost. Viacord charges a first year fee of $2250, and a $125 storage fee for each year after that. The Cord Blood Registry's first year fee is slightly less at $2195, the yearly storage fee is also $125. And Life Bank USA has a first year fee of around $1900, their yearly fee for following years is also $125.
A decision to bank cord blood has to be made prior to going into labor.
"It is important that a patient discuss cord blood banking with their doctor ahead of time because preparations have to be in place and the doctor has to know that he's collecting that cord blood," says Dr. Aepli.
If you chose not to bank your baby's cord blood it's discarded after birth. The Ohio General Assembly recently passed House Bill 102 requiring the Ohio Department of Health to provide standardized, objective information on cord blood banking through its Web site.