Newborn umbilical cord blood banking or donation can save a life.

Storing a baby's umbilical cord blood is more than just a fad. Cord stem cell banking can, and has saved lives. As the medical research continues to improve using stem cells to treat diseases, banked cord blood and cord blood donations will become more commonly used in treatments, and hopefully less costly. In some cases, cord blood from one child may even be used to help a sibling or a parent.

Cost of Cord Blood Banking

The cost of cord blood banking undoubtedly makes the decision for many families as to whether they will bank their baby's umbilical cord blood or not. The initial cost typically runs about $1500 to $2000 dollars with a yearly fee of about $150 to keep that blood stored. You can cut down on the initial set up costs by seeking out discounts, coupons, and setting up a registry with the cord blood bank. Usually the cord blood center will send you discounts if you sign up to receive information but wait to set up the donation. You can also ask your doctor's office for coupons. Doctor's offices often have promotional coupons to give away. Cord blood registries work like a baby gift registry. Family and friends can make a gift to the baby through your cord blood bank baby registry to help with the costs. You can also get discounts and sometimes and your yearly banking costs waived if you refer others to the cord blood center.

However, even with the discounts and gifts, many families simply cannot afford the cost but want their baby's potentially lifesaving umbilical cord blood to be used. This makes donating cord blood a good compromise.

Banking Cord Blood Process

Choose which family cord blood center you would like to use by getting recommendations. Ask your doctor, family, and friends for recommendations. Prices do not vary much, so seek out a service that will likely be around for decades and is easy to work with.

Read all of the information you receive from the service so that you clearly understand the steps and process involved. You will be responsible for getting the blood sample to the service bank using the kit the company supplies to you. Don't expect your hospital or doctor to take care of this for you. Cord blood banking is still relatively new and many doctors, nurses, and hospitals do not have procedures in place to guide the process. You will have to be proactive and make sure everything is done as needed.

Fill out all of the paperwork and submit the down payment ASAP. This has to be done before the baby is delivered. After filling out your paperwork and making the down payment, you will be sent a collection kit. Again, read all of the instructions and put the kit with your hospital bag so that it will not be forgotten.

Discuss with your delivering doctor that you will be saving your baby's cord blood. When you enter the hospital, tell the nurses and the doctor again and hand the kit to a nurse or doctor. There's only one chance to get your newborn's umbilical cord blood and you don't want the collection to be forgotten.

Immediately after the delivery of your baby, your delivering doctor will collect the blood from the umbilical cord using the kit. Just like drawing blood, your doctor will insert a needle into the umbilical cord for the stem cell collection. There is not any pain or discomfort for mom or baby. You probably probably won't even notice when your doctor collects the blood.

Once collected, you will then need to call the cord blood bank's delivery service to have the blood picked up and delivered to the bank. It is important to do this ASAP, as you have less than 48 hours to get the cord blood processed and frozen for it to be useful.

Donating Cord Blood Process

The donating cord blood process is much the same as for banking the umbilical cord blood. The biggest difference is in setting it up. You will need to work more closely with your hospital's cord blood donation program already in place.

Start by asking your doctor if your delivery hospital does cord blood donation. At some hospitals, cord blood donation may not be an option. You may have to contact your hospital's labor and delivery ward yourself to find this information and the hospital's procedures. Then contact the cord blood center or bank that works with your hospital for the kit and instructions. From here, except for not having to pay any money, the procedures should be much that same as if you were banking the blood.

Put Someone Else In Charge

Whether you car banking or donating newborn umbilical cord blood, it may be easier for you to have a trusted friend or family member take responsibility for making sure the doctor knows to collect the blood and to be responsible for calling the carrier. You and yoru partner are likely to be exhausted and preoccupied with your new bundle of joy, and banking your new baby's umbilical cord blood or donating it should not be something that adds stress. Choose someone responsible and trusted before your baby comes and give him or her all of the instructions and important phone numbers. This person's first responsibility should be to check that you brought the umbilical cord blood collection kit to the hospital. Putting the cord blood banking in the hands of someone else will ensure that it gets done and allow you to focus only on having a new baby.