Cord blood banking is the process of storing umbilical cord stem cells after childbirth for use in medical treatment. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best cord blood banks in Baltimore so you can start planning a healthy future for your family.
Around 4,500 babies are born each year in Baltimore, according to data from the Baltimore City Health Department and the census. For expecting parents, who live in Baltimore neighborhoods like Federal Hill, Charles Village and Homeland, interest in cord blood banking is on the rise.
Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells that can be used to treat over 80 different medical conditions, including cancers, blood disorders, bone marrow failure syndromes, metabolic disorders and immunodeficiencies. The stem cells can potentially benefit the donor, the donor’s siblings, relatives and even people who are unrelated.
To decide whether cord blood banking in Baltimore is worth it, here’s what you should be thinking about:
Your family health history and whether there are relatives with medical conditions treatable by stem cell transplants
Cord blood banking cost, which is expensive and generally not covered by insurance
Whether you have at least several months to coordinate with a cord blood bank and hospital medical staff for cord blood collection
Choosing a cord blood bank that is registered with the Food and Drug Administration, has professional accreditations and gets good reviews from customers
Cord blood banking pros and cons
Consider the pros and cons of cord blood banking in Baltimore before making a decision.
Cord blood banking pros
Cord blood banking cons
Safe and painless collection process after delivery
Potential treatment of over 80 different medical conditions
Umbilical cord stem cells can’t treat every condition
Storage for 20 - 25 years or longer
Donor and relatives can’t always use the cord blood
Ongoing research into more uses
Good chance you won’t use the cord blood
How is cord blood stored?
There are two main options for cord blood banking in Baltimore: public cord blood banks and private cord blood banks.
Public cord blood banks accept donations of cord blood, process it and store it for use by the public. There is no cost to give cord blood to a public cord blood bank. If you are interested in this option, make sure you ask your hospital if it participates in a public cord blood banking program.
Private cord blood banks process and store cord blood for private use by families. These companies provide a collection kit for you to take to your hospital, then pick up the cord blood and transport it to a lab. The cord blood is available anytime the customer needs it.
How much does cord blood banking cost?
Private cord blood banking in Baltimore costs for a single baby include an initial processing fee of $1,500 - $2,000 and annual storage fees of $150 - $200. For 20 years of storage, expect to spend at least $4,500.
Some cord blood banking companies also offer the option to store cord tissue, which contains stem cells that can’t currently be used but are the subject of extensive research. Processing cord tissue usually costs an extra $1,000, plus additional storage fees.
Cord blood banking companies have payment plans to make purchasing more affordable. Be sure to ask about available promotions and discounts.
Who can use cord blood?
If you donate to a public cord blood bank, the cord blood can be used by anyone who’s a match.
If you donate to a private cord blood bank, you have access to the cord blood for use by the donor or other family member.
Keep in mind, the donor or donor’s relatives may not always be able to use the stored cord blood. It depends on the medical condition, whether there’s a match between the donor and recipient and the quality of the cord blood.
Americord has been storing cord blood for clients since 2008. This FDA-registered company, which has over 35,000 cord blood units in storage, has a successful record of transplants and offers a product quality guarantee. Customers can also store cord tissue and placental tissue. Americord makes the entire experience of cord blood banking — from enrolling through courier pickup — stress-free, according to reviews.