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Cord Blood Banking

As the delivery date approaches, parents-to-be can consider the option of saving the baby's cord blood. Cord blood banking means collecting potentially life-saving stem cells from the umbilical cord and storing them for future use.

The umbilical cord connects the fetus to the mother while in the womb. Newborn umbilical cord blood contains stem cells that may be used to treat people with certain blood-related disorders. These include some types of cancer, immune system disorders, and genetic diseases.

Newborn cord blood can be collected from the umbilical cord shortly after birth. This does not interfere with the birthing process. It does not harm the health of either the baby or the mother. The collection of cord blood is safe, quick, and painless. If not collected, cord blood is discarded as medical waste.

Parents may choose to have their newborn's umbilical cord blood donated to a public cord blood bank. This donated cord blood can be made available to anyone who may need a blood stem cell transplant. It may also be made available to researchers who are trying to discover the causes of genetic conditions and birth defects and other health-related problems. There is no cost for publicly donating cord blood.

Parents may instead choose to store their newborn's umbilical cord blood at a private cord blood bank. This cord blood could possibly be used if a compatible family member requires a blood stem cell transplant. There are fees for collecting and storing cord blood at a private cord blood bank.

Both private and public cord blood banks are available in California. Parents interested in donating their baby's cord blood should talk with their prenatal care provider by the 34th week of pregnancy, or earlier.

For more information on both public and private cord blood banking, visit or call:

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