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How cord blood is saved

Tuesday, May 19, 1998

By Mary Niederberger

Expectant mothers can have their cord blood drawn at any hospital by getting agreement from their doctors and registering with a private company that provides the service.

The companies provide collection kits the mother takes with her to delivery and training videos and sometimes staff to visit with obstetricians to teach them the best collection techniques.

Arrangements should be made at least three months prior to delivery.

Cord blood is collected after a baby is delivered but before the placenta is removed. The cord is clamped and a syringe is inserted to draw out the blood.

Cord Blood Registry of San Bruno, Calif., the company used by the Shumoviches of Crafton, asks parents to then express mail the samples to the lab where it is processed then stored in liquid nitrogen in cryogenic storage vaults.

The Shumoviches paid $900 up front and received a kit that included the syringes and containers needed for collection, and $50 for the express mail. Their annual cost for storing the blood at CBR's blood bank at the University of Arizona in Tucson is $95.

Another private company, ViaCord Inc. of Boston, sends a courier to the delivery room to pick up the cord blood and to make sure it is delivered within 24 hours of collection.

Most families pick up collection and storage costs, but insurance companies may provide coverage where there is a strong family history of illness or a child who is already sick.

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