What made you decide to bank the cord blood?
We chose to bank our children’s cord blood because it seemed like an investment worth making. When we were pregnant with our son my father-in-law told me that they had previously banked our little brother’s cord blood. That made me think about what cord blood could potentially do for our family and I began my search into this new, unknown world. I quickly realized how valuable cord blood was, and once it was gone there was no getting it back. With Alzheimer’s present in my husband’s family the decision was made - we were going to bank the baby’s blood. The next question was which company to use.
Why did you choose StemCyte?
When we started down the path of which bank to choose there were two big contenders in the arena, CBR and ViaCord. I sought out information from both companies online and was quickly tracked down by their used car salesman... oops, I mean sales team... and they called me NONSTOP! I work in the customer service field and their customer service was horrible, unless you enjoy being stalked.
Soon after dodging the other companies aggressive advances I was sitting in my doctor’s office when I saw a brochure for StemCyte. I figured it couldn’t get worse than the other banks and my doctor said they really worked with military families so I called them. They were simply amazing and I LOVE that they have a public bank. When I called to Inquire about their services they invited us to come to their open house that included a tour, food, belly photos, and an ultrasound.
I was sold; no pregnant person passes up that compilation of items. When we went to the open house we were so impressed with the facility. The staff was amazing, the tour was eye opening, and the other goodies were the icing on top of an awesome day. That day I saw their public AND private banks, and all the hard work that goes into each of those. With StemCyte providing a LifeSaver Guarantee and holding extra accreditations for their public bank I was really impressed, my mind was made up. Before walking out of the open house we had paid for our banking with Care Credit and had our kit in hand.
How did the medical staff respond to your wish to bank blood?
Having banked both of my children’s cord blood I can tell you that we had two very different experiences. In San Diego, where I had my son, cord blood banking was pretty typical. The doctors saw the box, the nurses knew what to do, and it was all considered normal practice. On the other hand when I banked my daughters cord blood in Florida doctors and nurses were not well versed in cord blood collection.
At one point my amazing doctor had to call the labor and delivery unit to see if they were even able to collect the cord blood, they were. Thank God there are very clear instructions for the hospital staff to be able to collect the blood inside the box. When my daughter was born there was one nurse who had previously done a collection and she was showing two residents how to collect the blood.
They did great and were able to get a great collection. That collection has been used for three transfusions at Duke University and has one bag that is still banked for when there are further medical advancements.
All in all each and every provider that we have encountered over the last three years has expressed that they are elated that we banked and that they think it has done a world of good for our Bailey.
Obviously looking back banking the cord blood turned out to be the perfect choice. What if she hadn't had the brain damage due to stroke? Would you still be glad you made that choice?
Banking cord blood was an easy decision for us - it’s an insurance that you hope and pray that you never need to collect on. Overall the first year of banking cost less then our television! It was always the right choice for our family. Although, we ever knew what an amazing change it would make in Bailey's life. I didn’t even know that children could have stroke; I didn’t know that children could use their own cord blood. I thought it was used for cancer - that they were doing other studies on many other illnesses and diseases and I thought it was always used for family members.
Little did I know that my princess would use her own cord blood, not once but three times within her first year of life. I could have never imagined that doctors would say that the only reason she has use of her arm is because of the cord blood transfusions she received. We won't ever know for a fact that the cord blood is what made Bailey’s life what it is today because they are still conducting the trials at Duke. But being her mother I know wholeheartedly it was the right choice to bank her blood and to give it back to her to aid in the recovery from her stroke. If Bailey never had a stroke I would still be completely content knowing I banked her cord blood.
We have my son’s banked and I pray we never need it, but I know if he ever does need it, it will be there. Being an active member of the Children's Hemiplegia & Stroke Association (CHASA) community I have spoken to MANY families who expressed that they wish they would have banked their child’s cord blood but I have never spoken to a single parent that expresses regret that they did have that extra insurance for their child’s future, their cord blood.