Storing Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Blood – How Much Does It Cost?
It can be quite expensive to store your baby’s cord blood in a bank. Especially since this is usually over a long period of time. Yet, you can still save some money over time. You can also save your baby’s life!
There are lots of umbilical cord blood banks and/or storage facilities throughout the US. They use different storage methods and different ways of preserving the blood. The cost will also vary widely.
There are typically two different costs associated with banking. The first payment is the highest up front cost. It can be anywhere from about $1500 to about $1800. These are not hard and fast numbers. Market conditions could bring the price up or down in the time since this article was written.
This initial fee covers the cost of enrollment in the umbilical blood banking program. It also covers the fee for the actual collection of the blood after the baby’s delivery.
The next fee is for storage and protection of the blood. This is usually a yearly fee and it’s much less than the initial cost. It’s about $75 per year. Usually the initial cost covers the first year so this doesn’t apply until a year after the initial collection and storage. Again, these are not hard and fast numbers but just estimates.
This may sound like an expensive proposition but the cost is actually in line with other types of blood and tissue storage costs. The process is not just as simple as drawing some blood and sticking it in a bag and freezing it.
This is stem cell rich blood and it has to be handled very carefully. First it’s tested for communicable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis. If the blood is infected it is not suitable for treatment of any disease. It must be discarded.
Once the blood is determined not to be infectious it has to be spun down so the red blood cells can be removed. This leaves the white blood cells and the undeveloped stem cells.
The white blood cells are the ones that help your body fight off infection and illness.
Now the infection fighting serum can be frozen. This is done with liquid nitrogen usually. Liquid Nitrogen is a “cryogenic” gas. Cryogenic operations are very expensive to maintain.
I know this all sounds very technical and expensive. But consider the alternative. If, heaven forbid, your child ever needed cord blood therapy the costs are much higher. It can cost as much as $15,000 for a single unit of this type of blood. That’s if it’s available. Sometimes it has to be brought from outside the US and the cost can double.
And that’s for a single unit. Most therapies that require cord blood also require multiple infusions.
When you consider the cost of public cord blood banks, banking your infant’s cord blood makes a lot of sense.