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Health & Pregnancy

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Take a Look at Cord Blood Banking for Twins

Limits of Cord Blood Banking continued...

Cord blood cells from one healthy twin can be used to treat your other twin or another ill child, as long as the two are a good match. However, this benefit is greatest when the two children have a slightly different genetic makeup. This means that if your twins are identical (monozygotic), they will make poor blood donors for one another. If your twins are fraternal (dizygotic) they have the same chance as any other sibling of making a good donor for the other twin. Regardless of whether twins are identical or fraternal, cord blood could be used to treat another ill sibling.

The amount of stem cells from a single birth is enough to treat a child or young adult. Full-grown adults typically need more stem cells than are available in cord blood, though it is possible to combine stem cells from both of your twins. Additionally, the efficacy and safety of storing cord blood long enough for a child to become an adult has not been proven.

Cord Blood Banking Options

If you choose to bank cord blood, you can choose a public or private bank. Public banks operate much like blood banks. Cord blood donations become part of a public reserve. A computer registry keeps track of the available cord blood and shows all available matches for a given patient.

Public banks screen donors to rule out disorders or infections that could be passed to a recipient. A public bank will likely ask for a family medical history from you and your twins' father. You might need to provide a blood sample the day after you give birth. Your babies will not need to give blood samples.

Public banks do not charge a fee to collect or store cord blood.

Private banks keep cord blood cells in reserve in case your twins or other family member needs it. Private banks generally charge $1,000 to $2,000 to collect cord blood at the time of delivery, and then charge a yearly storage fee of about $100.

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