Many families choose to bank their umbilical cord blood for future medical use. However, cord blood banking can be complicated. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best cord blood banks in Phoenix to help you make the right choice about preserving your stem cells for the future.
Like the rest of the U.S., Arizona is experiencing a decline in birth rates. Maricopa County saw just over 51,700 births in 2018, down almost 800 from 2017 and down over 2,300 from 2016.
However, suburban cities in the Phoenix area like Gilbert and Chandler offer good school districts with lower costs of living, attracting young families.
Unfortunately, fewer births usually mean less available cord blood for public use. That’s why more and more families in Phoenix are turning to cord blood banking to help ensure they have access to their umbilical cord stem cells for years to come.
Banked cord blood is FDA-approved to treat over 80 medical conditions, including:
Inherited red cell abnormalities
Inherited platelet abnormalities
Immune system disorders
Solid tumors not originating in the blood or immune system
Scientists are also working diligently to research how to use cord blood to treat additional medical conditions, such as diabetes, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
Cord blood banking pros and cons
If you’re expecting a baby and wondering whether you should bank your baby’s cord blood, make sure you evaluate both the positive and negative aspects of cord blood banking in Phoenix.
Collection is safe and painless.
Cord blood can stay viable for years, possibly even decades.
Medical advancements should help stem cell therapy treat more conditions in the future.
Private cord blood banking is relatively expensive.
You must plan your cord blood banking months in advance since most cord blood banks have to make special arrangements for retrieval and storage.
Your family may never need the cord blood. Some experts estimate only a 1 in 217 chance the donor child will need it.
How is cord blood stored?
Once you decide to store your baby’s cord blood, you have two options: private or public cord blood banks.
Private cord blood banks in Phoenix store your baby’s umbilical cord blood for a fee so that only you and your family have access to the stem cells.
Public cord blood banks in Phoenix store donated cord blood and list these donations on public cord blood registries. These samples are available to anyone with a condition treatable with stem cell therapy.
Both types of cord blood banks separate the cord blood stem cells from the cord blood tissue, then freeze it. The specimens are kept in cryogenic freezers at the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen around 274 degrees below zero.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates all cord blood banks. Look for optional accreditation from AABB and the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy as well. Private cord blood banks do not need accreditation or certification from these organizations, but it’s still worth looking for when selecting a private cord blood bank in Phoenix.
How much does cord blood banking cost in Phoenix?
When donating to a public cord blood bank in Phoenix, there are generally no fees. The downside is that you lose all rights to your cord blood sample, and it likely won’t still be available if you or your loved ones ever need it.
For private cord blood banks in Phoenix, there are usually two costs:
An initial collection and processing fee
An annual storage fee
The initial cost includes collecting, testing and registering the cord blood. This ranges from $1,000 to $3,000. Storage fees are typically between $90 and $175 per year.
Health insurance usually does not cover cord blood banking. However, most cord blood banks offer payment plans, and some even offer financial aid to families with children needing stem cell therapy.
Who can use cord blood?
Anyone who is a genetic match can use your umbilical cord blood. If you store your cord blood at a public cord blood bank in Phoenix, it is given to sick people in need of stem cell therapy or sometimes scientists looking for research samples.
If you use a private cord blood bank in Phoenix, the donor child can use their stem cells, but you can also use the stem cells to help family members, such as a parent, sibling or even a grandparent.
Cord blood collection and storage is not a universal practice during childbirth, so whether you are storing privately or donating to a public bank, you need to research and plan ahead.
The Save the Cord Foundation runs the public cord blood bank in Phoenix. Mother’s must be at least 18 years old to donate, reach at least 35 weeks gestation and can’t have given birth to multiples.
Americord is a private blood bank that collects umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue and stores it for family use. This bank collects and stores samples from both single and multiple births and even cesarean sections. Customers mention Americord’s clear communication and friendly customer service at every step in the process.