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Stem Cell Banks or Cord Blood Banking: What is it, Cost in India, Comparison, Pros & Cons and More

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Modern medicine has significantly improved our lives, and the invention of Cord Blood Banking has further helped reduce the impact of life-threatening conditions like cancer, autoimmune disorders, and bleeding disorders in children.

Cord blood is the baby’s blood that stays inside the umbilical cord and the placenta following delivery of the baby. The stem cell banks store the frozen cord blood with an updated database until the baby or anyone with a genetic match requires a transplant for treating life-threatening conditions.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about Cord Blood Banking, its significance and the cost in India.

Also Read: What is the Best Age to Get Pregnant, According to the Research

Cord Blood – Definition and Significance

Baby with umbiliccal cord

Cord blood, as discussed, is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and the placenta after childbirth. Due to the alarming increase in severe chronic and life-threatening conditions, many parents find it assuring to store the cord blood in the stem cell or cord blood banks for their baby’s future.

The cord blood contains potent stem cells known as the hematopoietic stem cells. These are the only stem cells that can produce all blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.

The hematopoietic stem cells have the potential to cure over 70 types of chronic diseases, some of which can even lead to perpetual death without the stem cell transplant.

There are public and private banking options when it comes to storing cord blood. The parents get a rundown of all the instructions related to freezing the cord blood, and it is in their free will if they wish to store the cord blood of their baby or not. Collection of cord blood is a non-invasive procedure and doesn’t inflict any harm to the baby or the mother.

Also Read: Is Vaginal Birth Safe After Cesarean Delivery? New Research Says there is Over 20% Increased Chances of Perineal Tear

The significance of freezing cord blood is that it helps ward off and treat several severe conditions like:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetic disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma, which primarily affects the blood 

Having access to cord blood makes the transplant process easier and less risky since the transplant is done with the blood containing the same genetic material.

What are the Pros and Cons of Cord Blood Banking?

The process of cord blood banking has two sides like a coin. It comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. If you are carrying your first child and you are dabbling on the thought of cord blood banking, read through the pros and cons to assess your choices.

Pros of Cord Blood Banking

  • Cord blood contains more potent stem cells compared to bone marrow. Therefore, stem cell transplant using cord blood is more potent than bone marrow transplants. 
  • Transplants using cord blood stem cells have fewer chances of rejection than bone marrow.
  • The stem cells from cord blood enhance and optimize the immune system in cancer patients during their rigorous treatment regimens.
  • Cord blood collection is non-invasive and doesn’t harm anyone in the process.
  • Cord blood banks freeze the cord blood, which can be used immediately when needed.
  • Cord blood can be donated to someone in need and save lives.

Cons of Cord Blood Banking

  • The availability of stem cells in the cord blood isn’t a lot. This means that adults needing a transplant with cord blood will mostly need multiple donors.
  • Cord blood banking in private banks cost a lot of money. Getting a slot in the public banks is quite difficult. 
  • Patients need to plan ahead of time for cord blood storage.
  • Not every pregnant woman and their newborn baby can donate cord blood. They need to fulfill specific requirements to donate and store blood.
 

What is the Cost of Cord Blood Banking in India?

The storage of cord blood banking in India can be secured on a subscription basis or as a one-time fee.

The subscription-based fees can start from INR 4000 per year, and the one-time fees can start from INR 50,000, providing coverage for up to 21 years. The price may also vary depending on the labs storing the cord blood.

Leading Cord Blood Banking Laboratories in India: Price Comparison 

Cord blood banking is quite prevalent in India, especially when it comes to private clinics and laboratories. However, choosing one can be a bit confusing and challenging. 

This table explorers the best cord blood banking laboratories in India. 

Name

Laboratory

Accredited Under

Offered Therapies (groups)

Cost Involved (initially)

Annual Fees / Long-term fees / Tenure

Biocell

Babycell, Mumbai

ISO, DCGI

3

INR 79,000

21 years

CordCare India

Pathcare Labs, Hyderabad

DCGI

INR 65,000

21 years

Cordlife India

Cordlife India, Kolkata

AABB, FDA, cGMP, ISO, DCGI, CAP

64

INR 45,570

21 years

Cryo Stemcell

Cryo Stemcell, Bangalore

INR 25,000

INR 3000/year

Cryoviva India

Cryoviva India, Gurgaon

AABB, cGMP, ISO, DCGI, CAP

23

INR 50,000

21 years

Indu Stem Cell Bank

Indu Voluntary Blood Bank, Gujarat

DCGI

Call for quotations

LifeCell

LifeCell, Chennai and Gurugram

AABB, AATB, FDA, cGMP, ISO, DCGI, CAP

61

INR 19,900

INR 4000/year

NovaCord

Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon

DCGI

Call for quotations

ReeLabs

ReeLabs, Mumbai

ISO, DCGI

0

INR 75,000

21 years

Reliance

Reliance Life Sciences, Mumbai

AABB, DCGI

Call for quotations

StemCyte India

StemCyte India at Apollo Hospital Campus, Gujarat

AABB, FACT, cGMP, ISO, DCGI

43

INR 75,000 (including tissue)

21 years

Stem Plus

Stem Plus, Maharashta

Call for quotations

What is the Procedure of Cord Blood Collection?

Blood sample

A pregnant woman considering donating her baby’s cord blood will have to let her healthcare provider know the same by 28 weeks of her pregnancy. During this period, the patient needs to undergo screening to check for their eligibility:

  • Check if you meet the health guidelines
  • Check for availability of the public and private cord blood banks
  • Sign the appropriate consent forms after discussing the details with your doctor

Once the basic formalities are done, the collected cord blood undergoes thorough testing for genetic disorders, diseases, and infections before being frozen in the cord blood banks.

The actual collection of the cord blood happens after the delivery. In sterile conditions, the cord blood is extracted through injection from the umbilical cord and placenta. The process takes between 8-10 minutes.

Once collected, the cord blood is transferred to the cord blood bank, where they freeze it in a liquid nitrogen freezer and then store it until someone needs it in the future.

FAQs

Conclusion

The significance of cord blood banking is gaining prominence in both babies and adults. It is used to treat several life-threatening conditions with an assured cure. If you want to secure your child’s future by storing their cord blood, ensure that you plan things ahead of time. We’d recommend discussing the pros and cons, procedure and costs with your obstetrician before you come to a conclusion.

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.

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