How do You Counsel Patients on Cord Blood Banking?


Both patients and physicians are confused about cord blood banking. How do you address the issue?

Though cord blood banking still makes news--in the past month, businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks has encouraged parents to utilize private cord blood banks, a cord blood bank in California settled with the FTC on a data breach, and public banks are making appeals for donors-studies have shown that women have a poor understanding of the current therapeutic uses of cord blood1,2.  Obstetricians don't fare much better, with 49% saying they don't have sufficient knowledge to answer patients' questions about donation3.

Twenty four states have statutes mandating or encouraging the dissemination of information on cord blood banking to patients, and a 2008 ACOG Committee Opinion states that, if requested, patients should receive “balanced and accurate information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of public versus private umbilical cord blood banking;” and that health care professionals who recruit for for-profit blood banks should disclose their financial interests4.

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If you do discuss it with patients, do you recommend either public or private cord blood banking? In what circumstances?


1. Donating umbilical cord blood to a public bank or storing it in a private bank: knowledge and preference of blood donors and of pregnant women. Blood Transfus. 2012 Jul;10(3):331-7.
2. Fox NS, Stevens C, Ciubotariu R, et al. Umbilical cord blood collection: do patients really understand? J Perinat Med. 2007;35(4):314-21.
3. Walker T, Steckler D, Spellman S, et al. Awareness and acceptance of public cord blood banking among obstetricians in the United States. Transfusion. 2012 Apr;52(4):787-93.
4. Umbilical Cord Blood Banking. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 399. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2008;111:475–7.

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