Cord Blood Banking, or No?


During our pregnancy with Em it seemed like we were bombarded with decisions that we were going to have to make left and right. The first decision was whether or not we would carry on with our pregnancy, or terminate. From that first decision to carry on, we were then forced to make one decision after another, after another. We had to decided whether or not we would resuscitate Em if things went south during delivery. We had to decide where we would bury her when the time came. We had to decide whether or not to induce labor and have a very scheduled and planned delivery, or if we would just let nature take its course. We had to decide if we would have her be on life support, oxygen, feeding tubes, etc... I remember just being bombarded with questions, and then giving answers, and then signing on the dotted line to confirm these answers for what seemed like a weekly basis.

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One thing that we didn't really consider during our pregnancy was Cord Blood Banking. Cord Blood Banking is when the doctors remove and store the blood and stem cells from the umbilical cord after the baby and placenta are born, and they store that blood at a "Cord Blood Bank" for future use. The idea is that the stem cells found in the blood can be used to heal and regenerate parts of the brain or body that have been affected by a serious disease or trauma. So by saving your child's cord blood, you're basically providing a really valuable insurance for your baby should they ever get seriously ill. I learned a lot about Cord Blood Banking during Em's pregnancy, and how those cells can help to heal damaged parts of the brain, especially in instances of hydrocephalus, which is what they first initially told us Em had. I found myself on the fence about it at that point, but then when her condition worsened to holoprosencephaly and they essentially told us there was not going to be a baby coming home with us, it seemed pointless to consider Cord Blood Banking at that point.

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Obviously the doctors were far wrong about the type of life that Em would lead, and thankfully there hasn't seemed to be much "brain damage" that would require the use of stem cells, but it's something I think about often. Now that she's here, she is far more susceptible to having seizures, which could damage parts of the brain, and I wonder what we would do in those instances. I don't often "what if" a lot of situations, but sometimes I wish I had given Cord Blood Banking a little more thought in regards to Em.

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CBR or Cord Blood Registry is a foundation dedicated to advancing the real life clinical applications of newborn stem cells. They Partner with researchers on FDA- regulated clinical trials to advance newborn stem cell research and connect families to these trials if they qualify. CBR’s commitment to parents and their babies is to provide the best service and quality in the collection, processing, and storage of newborn stem cells, so that families are confident entrusting their precious cells to their care.

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While Cord Blood Banking isn't something that we chose with our kids, it is something that I would give more thought to in a future pregnancy, especially if we found out we were having another special needs child. I love CBR and their mission, what they stand for, and their transparency with parents so that they are involved and informed in the entire process. Have you done Cord Blood Banking for any of your pregnancies? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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