There is much debate over whether to opt for a public or private cord blood
bank. Here we take a look at the arguments for and against each possibility.
On the side of public banking, many argue that this shows community spirit. They
would also claim that it offers greater advantages than private banking. Why?
Because, they say, a public pool to draw on is considerably larger than having a
single source of blood. They add that private blood banks may not be useful for
many conditions which are due to inherently defective genes.
Advocates of public banking say that many problems developed by children are
genetic and cannot be treated with their own blood store which contains the same
genes. They also reckon that the suitability of one sibling´s blood store may be
as low as 1 in 4 where an exact genetic tissue match is required.
Supporters of public banks say the eventuality of your family members needing
to make use of blood stem cells are extremely low. Probability varies from
1/1500 up to 1/200000.
They also point to the fact that fees for private cord blood banks range from
around $500 to $2000 along with storage fees in the region of $100 per year.
Fees for public banking tend to be very low, if not free.
Supporters of private blood banking point to rapid scientific advances which
may well mean that many conditions not currently treatable with your own blood
will be possible in the future, and that more and more ailments will be curable
using one´s own blood stem cells. So, they say, while cures from your own blood
gene cells may currently be limited to certain diseases, that situation is set
to change radically over the next decade or so.
Even with current possibilities, if your family has a history of certain
conditions, the more sense a private cord blood bank makes, they argue. They
point out that public sources are still available even if you have your own
You may also opt to donate a small amount of cord blood to a public bank,
thereby benefiting everyone although private bankers would also say that it can
be very difficult to find public banks forthcoming in harvesting, collection and
storing the blood. Much of this attitude is down to the cost for public banks
which will normally cost them in excess of $1,000.
There is no guarantee that if a problem arises that can be treated with blood
cells that public banks will be forthcoming in a timely manner, when this may be
critical, or in fact at all. Your own personal store is always available and
It goes without saying that a private cord blood bank offers assurances that
a public cord blood bank cannot make. Without more resources for public banks it
seems unlikely that one would be depriving others of the benefits of your
child´s blood stem cells if you opt to go privately. That said if you do decide
not to store privately why not consider approaching a public provider to
ascertain whether they would like to harvest your baby´s umbilical cord blood
free of charge?