The cost of cord blood banking in Canada will depend on where you save it. But it can go anywhere from CAD 1,000 to CAD 1570. But if you choose to save it in a public cord blood bank, there are no fees involved.
Is the Cost of Cord Blood Banking in Canada Worth It?
The cost of banking the cord blood may be worth every penny, if someone in your family requires a stem cell transplant to treat a fatal disease, like sickle cell anemia, immune deficiency, or leukemia. Your baby’s cord blood can save your family member’s life if it’s a good match.
However, likely, your baby can’t use his/her own cells. That is, if the baby has a disease that cord blood can treat, he/she can use his/her own stem cells.
Furthermore, it’s relatively rare that your baby’s cord blood matches that of family blood. In most cases, family members will have to look for a match outside the family.
Another way that your baby can use his/her own cord stem cells is he/she can benefit from a new therapy that uses stem cells to heal developmental problems.
Clinical trials are ongoing wherein babies are given their own cord blood to treat their cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, type-1 diabetes, and sensorineural hearing loss, among others.
However, more research is required for these therapies to be implemented or accepted widely in the medical community.
How Much Does It Cost to Save Cord Blood Privately?
As mentioned, the amount can vary. It ranges from CAD1,400 to CAD2,300. In addition to this figure, you also have to pay for yearly storage costs that can go anywhere from CAD115 to CAD150.
If you have decided to store your baby’s cord blood, cord blood banks may offer you payment plans. You can choose a no-interest installment that you can pay for a few months. There are also longer-term financing plans that come with interest fees.
You may think that the cost is exorbitant. But wait until you know how much it will cost the hospital or the bank to process and store it. Even if you choose to save it publicly, the cost can still go CAD2,000 for every unit of cord blood.
If you choose not to save it, donating it can be an ideal choice. It’s free. However, only a few hospitals in Canada have the necessary tools to collect blood. Thus, access to these hospitals is very limited.
Are Cord Blood Banks Regulated?
Cord blood banks are regulated by Health Canada. These blood banks process and store cord blood that has been collected from a donor to be used in another individual.
Both public and private cord blood banks must be registered with Health Canada under the Safety of Human Cells, Tissues, and Organs for Transplantation Regulations (CTO) Regulations. Thus, they are all subject to routine inspections.
Regulating these banks is necessary to lower the health risk to transplant recipients of human CTO from another donor. However, private cord blood banks that save cord blood for autologous use aren’t subject to these regulations.
Furthermore, all cord blood banks are subject to the Food and Drugs Act. To prevent contamination and protect the safety of recipients, cord blood products must not be preserved, prepared, manufactured, or packaged under unsanitary conditions.
If you have decided to store your child’s cord blood, there are things you must consider when deciding which cord blood bank to use:
Know Who Can Use the Cord Blood
Remember that some cord blood banks will only save cord blood for autologous purposes but others for allogeneic uses. If you choose a public cord blood bank, though, the cord blood is saved for anyone to use.
Find Out the Health Conditions Stem Cells Can Treat
Contrary to other people’s beliefs, cord blood stem cells can’t treat any type of disease. Thus, you must be wary of a cord blood bank that promises that your child’s cord blood can be used for any disease.
Remember that only certain medical conditions have been proven to be treated by stem cells. More research is underway to provide support to claims about other diseases.
Then, if the cord blood bank claims that cord blood stem cells are a panacea, you have to run.
Is the Baby’s Cord Blood Enough to Treat an Adult?
Cord blood is an option but it has vague benefits. Typically, it requires 3 ounces of blood to have sufficient stem cells to be used for an adult transplant.
Before cord blood transplants were used for pediatric patients. These days, more adults have received cord transplants each year.
Is the Cord Blood Viable If the Child is Grown?
There’s no expiration date for cryogenically preserved cells. In that case, cord blood is still viable for decades.
The cord blood that has been stored more than two decades ago is still as potent as fresh cord blood.
Is The Cord Blood the Only Source of Stem Cells?
It’s not the only source. Bone marrow, baby teeth, muscle, and fat contain stem cells. You can also find them in human embryos and fetal tissue. However, the use of these cells is controversial. Currently, cord blood, peripheral blood, and bone marrow are the only sources of stem cells that are used for transplants.
Is the cost of cord blood banking in Canada worth the investment? It depends on your goal. You should talk to your doctor about the benefits of this procedure.