When you find out that you are about to have a baby, tons of new information and products seem to be thrown in your face. You are instantly overwhelmed by so many thoughts: what the baby will look like, what you will name the baby, will the baby be a girl or a boy, etc. However, for many the only thought and hope that matters is that you want your baby to be born healthy. When I was in my third trimester of pregnancy I found out that both my husband and I were carriers of the Sickle Cell Trait. Frankly, I was immediately devastated, but then I regrouped, put on my “Big Girl shoes” and stepped out in faith. I knew that God’s will would be done.
Before I left that day, I asked my OBGYN what it really meant that my husband and I were carries of the trait and she explained that my twins had a 25% chance of having Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), a 25% chance of not having the disease, and a 50% chance of having the Sickle Cell Trait. Then she told me that I should really consider cord blood banking. I liked my doctor and I trusted her advice so after I left her office I looked up Cord Blood Banking.
What is Cord Blood Banking?
According to the Cord Blood Registry “Cord blood banking is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to collect and save the stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord blood for potential medical uses. Having this invaluable resource can be lifesaving or life-changing for your baby and other family members.
- Cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells, which have been used in transplant medicine to treat many life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia and other cancers.
- Cord blood is being researched today for use in regenerative medicine where stem cells may help induce healing or regenerate cells to repair tissues. This exciting new area of medicine has led to clinical trials and research using cord blood in experimental therapies to treat cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and juvenile diabetes.” (source)
What company’s provide Cord Blood Banking?
Why I banked my baby’s umbilical cord?
I banked my daughter’s umbilical cord (only one of the twins) because I wanted them both to have the best chance they possibly could to live a normal life, just in case one was diagnosed with SCD. I studied how debilitating the disease could be so I knew that no amount of money could keep me from trying to give them a clean bill of health if something was wrong. Studies showed that sickle cell free cord blood and a bone marrow transplant are two cures for the disease. Even if neither one of my daughters was diagnosed with the disease I would have banked the cord blood anyway just in case.
How was their customer service?
I contacted both organizations listed above and the representatives from the Cord Blood Registry and Via Cord were nice, responsive, and completely respectful. I won’t share which one I ultimately chose, because I am not trying to plug one organization over the next, I am just sharing my experience. When the day of my delivery arrived, I had the kit available, the doctors and nurses packed it accordingly and the designated pickup person came to my room and my husband gave him the sealed box. It was seamless and without much worry.
Always look for coupon savings
- Ask your OBGYN (even inquire about public cord blood banking options).
- Do a search on the internet (I received a pretty good discount brochure in the mail along with tons of other signage for companies targeting expectant moms).
- Ask the representative for any specials or programs that may be offering discounts.
After, I had already banked my daughter’s cord blood I found out that ViaCord has the following special program available: “Any expectant family with a child who has an established diagnosis of a disease that is currently treatable with sibling cord blood may be eligible [to receive five years of storage at no cost to expecting parents]. Your child’s doctor will need to complete a medical referral form for approval.” (Source)
If you have more questions about my experience, please feel free to ask in the comment section below. I will be writing a follow-up post because this really isn’t the end of the story.
As you know World Sickle Cell Day is ...