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The factors that you should consider in a cord blood bank comparison depend on if you are looking for a public bank to donate cord blood or a private bank to store cord blood for your family use. Although it is free to donate cord blood, you might be limited on public blood bank choices and would be subject to eligibility requirements. There are numerous private blood banks throughout the world, however, and the main factors for comparison are generally location, accreditation, and fees. Some of the other factors you might consider include blood cell storage, shipping processes, laboratory testing, and how long the blood bank has been storing blood. You can always request a copy of the contract for potential blood banks you are considering so you can compare details such as consumer rights.
If you are contemplating donating cord blood to a public bank, the number of banks available for a cord blood bank comparison will typically be limited by location. Most public banks are affiliated with specific hospitals, so you will want to check which blood banks your hospital might use. You can also compare which blood banks will match your blood to someone needing a transplant and which ones use the blood for research purposes. Additionally, you might check what the eligibility requirements are to donate cord blood to different public banks.
There are many private banks throughout the world, so your cord blood bank comparison should start by determining which banks serve your location. If you choose a blood bank that is close to your selected hospital, then fewer blood cells have a chance to die during transportation. Also, some hospitals have contracts with specific private banks, so you should check if your hospital only collects blood for certain banks.
Accreditation is another factor to consider in your cord blood bank comparison, if it is applicable in your geographic area. In order for a bank to be accredited, it must pass laboratory inspection by an accreditation agency. In the United States and Canada, a company called AABB will typically inspect the blood banks. In the United Kingdom, accreditation can be done through the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), and in many other countries it is done through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Depending on your financial situation, the cost of the private bank might be of concern. Some banks will charge both a collection fee and an annual storage fee, and the overall cost can range from hundreds to thousands of US dollars (USD). You can also check if the fee is subject to change in the future, if there are any discounts, or if the bank offers a refund under any circumstances.
Another thing you might compare is whether the blood bank stores the whole blood sample or just separated stem cells. Some private banks will remove the plasma and red blood cells during processing, which can be cheaper to store. Other banks will store the whole blood sample, which allows you to use all the types of cells, including white blood cells, in the future.
Further factors to consider in your cord blood bank comparison include shipping processes, laboratory testing, and how long the bank has been storing blood. Not all private banks provide transportation to ship your cord blood from the hospital to the bank, so if it is not included, you will have to find your own medical courier. The testing done at the laboratory can vary, so you can check if the bank tests for infectious diseases and if it will reject contaminated blood. Also, you can compare how long a bank has been collecting and storing blood to get an idea of how much experience it has and the stability of the company.
Additionally, you should request a copy of the contract for any blood banks you are considering so you can compare details such as consumer rights. The contract should explain what will happen if the company goes out of business, your storage fees are not paid, or your cord blood gets lost. It should also explain the privacy policies of the blood bank. Thoroughly reading private banks’ contracts will allow you to do a detailed cord blood bank comparison before signing one.
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