Assessing Your Need for Umbilical Cord Blood

From the WebMD Archives

Do you want to bank your child's cord blood as "insurance"?

Many private banks argue that cord blood banking is a form of insurance. The odds are low that your child will ever need it, they say, but the cord blood is there if he or she ever does.

However, a lot of doctors and medical organizations disagree. In their most recent statement on the subject from 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that storing cord blood as a form of "biological insurance" is "unwise" because the benefits are too remote to justify the costs. Besides, cord blood is not the only treatment available for children who develop these diseases.

Of course, no one knows how stem cells will be used in the future. Researchers hope that they may be used to treat many conditions, like Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart failure, spinal cord damage, and other conditions.

It's possible that storing your child's cord blood cells now may be useful in combating these diseases one day. But for now, these treatments are only theoretical. It's also not clear if stem cells from cord blood -- as opposed to stem cells from other sources -- will be useful in these potential treatments.