Cord Blood Can Save a Life

Did you know there’s an altruistic option for banking umbilical cord blood, which provides stem cells for research and treatment of dozens of disorders and cancers? Here’s a quick comparison—banking your child’s cord blood for private use or as a donation—and how to make the donation happen.

Illustration by In-finity/

Private cord blood banking costs around $1,300–$2,600 initially and $100–$180 per year afterward. If it’s used for the life-saving treatment of a family member, it reduces the risk of rejection. However, the chance of needing it is rare, and it may not be a match or appropriate treatment option.

Public cord blood donation is free. Cord For Life (CFL) accepts donations from women meeting certain health criteria, such as no history of cancer, HIV, or hepatitis, and ethnic diversity is desired.

If you’re interested, visit and call to verify your hospital’s accreditation. Talk to your physician or midwife. Submit the physician consent form and extensive medical history. The collection kit is mailed to you. After delivery, the cord is clamped and blood collected; delayed clamping is not permissible. CFL will arrange for a courier to retrieve the sample.

Upon arrival, the sample is tested, processed, and listed on the Be The Match registry. Physicians around the world can then find matches for their patients who need stem cell transplants.

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