Cord Blood Banking: What Expectant Parents Need to Know

Andrey Pavlov / Stocksy

Source: originally published in Bride Magazine on July 9, 2018 

One of the lesser-discussed topics regarding labour and delivery is the option to participate in cord blood banking. Yet, deciding whether or not to pursue this type of service is a hefty decision that also comes with a price tag.

But, is it worth it?

While only you can truly decide what’s best for your growing family, we did a bit of research, and spoke with Dr. Iffath Hoskins, clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health for more information.

What Is Cord Blood Banking?

Hoskins explains that cord blood banking is, well, what you might expect from the name. It’s a collection of the cord blood after the birth of the baby and after blood samples drawn for medically indicated tests. For those who are receiving this service, blood is drawn from the umbilical cord, because cord blood contains stem cells (nearly 10 times more than those collected from bone marrow) which are the precursors to all the cells of the body. Therefore, these collected cells can be stored and then used as needed, for treating medical problems, creating body organs, etc.

The Benefits

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA) banking this blood is a type of insurance. Essentially, you pursue storing it in the hopes you’ll never need to use it, but if you do, Hoskins says, “Using a cord blood bank can provide peace of mind in knowing that you have a valuable resource if you need it.” How? These stem cells can work to treat certain diseases or conditions of a parent or sibling. Cord blood stem cells have similar ability to treat disease as bone marrow but with significantly less rejection.

According to the March of Dimes, stem cell transplants that originate from cord blood may be able to help treat diseases such as blood cancers, bone marrow diseases, some anemias, some immune system problems, and some metabolism problems.

Other health conditions that may benefit are currently being researched.

Private vs. Public

Parents who pursue cord blood banking are faced with many options, including which service to use, and whether they want to use a private or public cord blood bank. Hoskins explains the advantage of using a public bank is that, should you need it, you’ll have a larger pool to choose from, while the advantage of banking it privately is that the sample is very specific and tailored to the specific individual from whom and for whom it was collected.

The Cost

Though the process of collecting and storing the blood itself is safe, risk-free and pain free, there is a cost. But for many, it’s impossible to put a price on this type of security, should you ever need it.

Generally speaking, the APA explains there are two fees – the upfront fee that covers, “enrollment, collection, and storage for at least the first year,” and subsequently the annual storage fee which is typically much less.

In Canada, prices can range from initial fees of $1050 to $2,100 depending on the service provider you chose, while annual storage fees are typically about $125 (per year). For actual costs, consult the private blood bank (such as Insception Lifebank).

Is it Worth It?

According to Hoskins, “If parents want additional peace of mind and reassurances that a person’s specific cord blood will be available for his/her specific future needs, then this is an option.” However, it’s an entirely personal decision, and opting to not bank the cord blood is an irreversible decision.

With ongoing research happening at a rapid pace, it can be a difficult decision for families to make, especially for those who might not be able to afford the initial costs. It’s encouraged that you discuss your options with your OBGYN and/or midwife for more insight and recommendations.

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Nurtured is a partner of Insception Lifebank, Canada’s largest and most experienced cord blood bank with over 78,000 units stored.  We want to ensure expectant parents in the Maritimes can make an informed decision regarding banking their newborn’s cord blood and tissue stem cells. 

Receive a FREE information package from Insception Lifebank by clicking here.

A Maritime Family Friendly Camping List

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Happy Summer!  Here’s hoping you’re headed camping with your family in Nova Scotia if you’re reading our blog.  We enjoy hearing customers list their favourite Nurtured items to take along camping with their families.

While you’re scouring the web for that perfect Family Camping Checklist scroll below to see what we added to Cozi family organizer’s list or read here for our top 5 camping with kid must haves.  We’ve compiled a thoughtful and friendly Nurtured walkthrough with your littlest ones in mind! Bet you’ll picture yourself camping very quickly! Enjoy!

Here’s a few favourite items to check out:

1PM: Arrive to the campsite and buy firewood. (FYI, read here for reasons not to transport firewood.)

Have fun setting up your tent! I like to have special jobs  I’ve talked to my kids about on the way down to the campsite (like who holds the stakes until they’re needed) or if your child is younger, a special bag of toys/snacks to keep them occupied. 

Check what time the sun goes down.  Estimate 8:30pm and if you have a drive up campsite, have layers or Wee Woollies pjs on the front seat of the car ready and waiting. 

Organization is key: the car door gets the bug spray, flashlight and the sunscreen plus the toothbrushes and toothpaste. When there’s a plan there is always less chaos and questions for mom on the first night.

Fire safety. Place your water filled bucket at the fire pit before you start the fire.

Through the years we’ve learned to draw a line our kids know is an “approved person only area” around the fire. Kudos to the 12-year-old who is now our family’s fire builder. He’s been camping since he was 1 year old in the Canadian Rockies. One of the many reasons I love camping with my family is the awareness of my kids’ ever growing abilities each year. Guess who is packing the gear this year? 

A few words on packing the cooler. A few days ahead I like to freeze things like applesauce, yogurt and juice. Try a few of our reusable snack containers in shop. Having your first night’s supper already diced and ready to toss onto an open fire before you leave your home is a must. Some years past this has been good ol’ precooked goulash. Thank you very much to easy heat and serve meals or even something that can be enjoyed cold. No judgement… If someone can remind me to pack the butter, salt and pepper for the corn on the cob I will forever be grateful. Yum.   

Don’t skip the Sunscreen.  Water resistant for 80 minutes, Thinkbaby or ThinkSport sunscreen is non nano particle, 20% zinc, family friendly formula that applies in a non-greasy or ghost white application. Their stick of sunscreen is one of the easiest things I can now pass along to my kids and they’ll apply it to their ears, forehead and noses on their own. Hooray for diligence in use through the years. 

Be prepared, the Maritimes can be chilly. Nighttime can be damp and cool especially if you’re near the water. You’ll be so glad Wee Woollies are on your child. These are perfect camping jammies as they’re always the right temperature for the body and great clothing for early morning play. Also, let your kids get dirty, remembering, wool performs best when it’s washed less, so , just hang it in between use in a nice airy place and pop it back on your kids. Also don’t be surprised if your kids have zero interest in taking it off even on the hottest afternoons. My kids stay playing in their merino wool right past breakfast.

Keep everyone hydrated. Have your stainless steel water bottles filled, and plates and cups ready- I find items that are easy to clean, lightweight to pack, and stack up compact are longtime camping favourites. Ask about our stainless steel plates in store that have become a favourite amongst our customers (who buy us out about this time every year) reporting their durability and multi-use function (plus inexpensive price point) an easy win for their family. 

First Aid and Bug Spray– With the number of ticks soaring in Eastern Canada, we were happy to partner up in carrying Mahone Bay’s own Atlantick Body Spray. This locally made and Acadia University studied body spray is quickly proving to bring relief in something that is refreshing and nice to reapply. 

Many of our customers have created kits to place along with their first aid kit. You can do this simply by having Atlantick’s Tick Picks (NEVER TWIST. Using a crowbar method with a tick pick is recommended and more specific to the job of removal than tweezers), a picture for how to identify a tick, plus container(s) and a bag of cotton balls in which you can moisten to keep the tick moist if bitten so you can submit it for testing.) 

Every wary of the long lasting effects of Lyme, it’s essential to learn that part of keeping ticks away is simply in masking your scent and the carbon dioxide you emit. You can rest easy in Atlantick’s natural ingredient based formula and reapply every 2-3 hours. If you’re on a hike or working up a sweat, reapply more frequently. Not recommended for pregnant women or children under 6 months. 

Nurtured tip: A lint roller is also said be an effective tool for keeping near your tent entry. A quick roll over can remove even the tiniest baby ticks but nothing beats tucking pant legs into socks, wearing long sleeves and checking waistbands, and warm areas of the body before retiring for the night.

 

And finally, here’s Cozi’s handy Family Camping checklist. Have fun!

  • CAMPSITE GEAR
  • Tent, poles, stakes
  • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
  • Extra tarp or canopy
  • Sleeping bag for each camper
  • Sleeping pad for each camper
  • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets
  • Chairs
  • Headlamps or flashlights (extra batteries)
  • Lantern
  • Lantern fuel or batteries
  • KITCHEN
  • Stove
  • Fuel for stove
  • Matches or lighter
  • Firewood (plan to purchase this from your campsite)
  • Frying pan
  • Pot
  • French press or portable coffee maker
  • Corkscrew
  • Tablecloth
  • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
  • Food-storage reusable containers, bags
  • Trash bags
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Water bottles
  • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
  • Cups, mugs
  • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Foil
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
  • Extra bin for washing dishes
  • CLOTHES
  • Clothes for daytime
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuits
  • Rainwear
  • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
  • Extra layers for warmth
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • PERSONAL ITEMS
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush, toiletries
  • Soap
  • POTTY For Potty Learning!
  • OTHER ITEMS
  • Camera
  • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
  • Maps, area information
  • Bikes, toys
  • Pet supplies and food

Giving Back #12NurturedActs

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Many of you know that Nurtured is celebrating 12 years of business this month.

I have been part of Nurtured since early 2011. These years have allowed me to not only celebrate much life and growth but also hear stories from all different walks of life.

There are many people that Nurtured Dad and I have come in contact with that are truly nurturing the community we live in on a daily basis – often without very much praise. Some are individuals while others are groups. No matter how you look at it, these are some of the unsung heroes in our community that make the world a better place. In a time of crazy world events and a feeling of almost wanting to shut out news, these are stories that remind us of the good in the world and call on us as good ol’ Fred Rogers said, to look for the helpers. As a celebration of 12 years of Nurtured we decided we would create #12NurturedActs and start a movement for every year we’ve been in business.

So we set out to contact organizations within the community to learn who has made a significant difference to them. We’ve been in touch with some pretty neat people that were awesome at sleuthing all the behind the scenes details.

Our aim was to thank people via products that we carry or have access to for stretching our giving dollars with. While we do offer some items that many people enjoy , you can understand we are pretty much a store for parents, babies and kids! So with that in mind, we also contacted local businesses in our North End community to see if they would help us when we learned someone might enjoy something that we couldn’t otherwise provide. All of them were more than happy to be a part of our initiative by extending discounts or even offering services at no charge.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting Natasha Touesnard. Her story of overcoming addiction and giving back to our community is incredibly inspiring.
It is a pleasure to share our first of #12NurturedActs. It is Natasha’s own personal experience that is now aiding others through her courageous sharing of her story, her advocacy in helping others curb addiction as well as moving doctors and communities toward developing harm reduction policies. Thank you, Adsum for Women and Children, for naming Natasha for her growth, daily work and advocacy to fight stigma in order to learn more about what can be done to create a healthy community.
Being wrapped up in the stories and the kind conversation that encompasses Natasha was a little overwhelming for me (as you can see in the video). It is awe inspiring when you have the chance to meet someone that has overcome significant challenge continuing everyday to turn that experience into something positive.
A special shout out goes to Jenny Zinck at Uptown Spa & Salon in the Hydrostone. She was super great helping us put together a visit for Natasha and went so far as to give us some of the services for free!
Have a look at the video from yesterday and keep these people that Nurtured others in your thoughts!
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