Cord Blood Banking Costs and Storage Fees
There are various costs associated with storing your child’s cord blood, such as enrollment and processing fees. Understanding these costs will help you make an informed decision when choosing a bank.
Here are 2 important things to remember about cord blood banking costs:
- Public banking is a donation that gives access to your baby’s stem cells to anyone who needs them. The cost of using publicly-sourced cord blood in a stem cell transplantation is significant, but because it is a medical procedure, it’s usually covered by health insurance. Cord blood stored in a public bank is available to everyone, so there’s no guarantee the donating family will be able to use these cells if they are ever needed.
- Private cord blood banking is an investment made toward your family’s future health. There is an initial cost for processing, and many banks charge annual fees for continued storage. Upfront, discounted long-term storage charges also often available. While private banking is more expensive, only your family has access to these cells, so you can always use them for a medical treatment.
Comparing private banking costs
While comparing prices for cord blood banks may seem straightforward, parents need to be aware of what is included and any additional charges that may apply. For instance, some companies charge for shipping—usually called a “courier fee”—but don’t include this in their processing and enrollment costs. Some banks use commerical shipping companies like DHL while other use specialized medical couriers to ensure safe, expedited delivery. As a result, shipping fees can range from $50 to as high as $150.
If you are researching a private bank, ask for the total costs for the first initial year and then compare annual or pre-paid storage fees. First-year costs include enrollment fees, processing, shipping and one year of storage. The below table has a cost comparison of the 3 leading cord blood banks as it was reviewed run on March 2018. We also included total costs for 21 years. Viacord and CBR offer 20-year and 18-year long-term storage plans while Cryo-Cell offers 21 years. To create a level playing field of 21 years of prepaid storage, we added any additional annual fees to the discounted long-term plans available for Viacord and CBR.
Pricing of Top 3 Cord Blood Banks
|Cryo-Cell||Cord Blood Registry||ViaCord|
+ First Year
+$950 cord tissue
+$1120 cord tissue
+$870 cord tissue
|Recurring Annual Fees||$150 Cord Blood
+$150 cord tissue
|$150 Cord Blood
+$150 cord tissue
|$175 Cord Blood
+$175 cord tissue
|Total Cost for 21 years||$4599 standard
+$3950 cord tissue
+$3715 cord tissue
+$3810 cord tissue
Private cord blood banking costs typically include:
- Enrollment fees
- Collecting and processing fees
- Cost of shipping and handling
- Year-based storage fees
- Retrieval fees
Enrollment, Collection and Processing Fees
Enrollment fees are usually due when you sign your banking contract and cover all administrative work. Collection and processing fees cover laboratory work for your child’s cord blood and are paid with your enrollment fees.
Often called “courier fees,” some banks have one-time costs for shipping cord blood to the labs. While usually a flat-rate fee, some facilities charge based on location. Be sure to ask your bank for a total shipping estimate from your baby’s hospital.
For most banks, storage fees are charged every year cord blood is kept at the lab. Some banks offer discounted pre-paid storage plans for a set amount of years—on average, these plans cover a 20-year term. These plans can be harder to compare because of the different terms available. It is extra important to consider the stability of the cord blood bank and its lab when pre-paying for long-term storage that it might not be able to guarantee.
Banks charge retrieval fees when customers need to retrieve their cord blood for use in a transplantation or research.
While private banks store cells for your family, donating stem cells to a public bank can save lives and help researchers test new therapies. Find out more about public banking here.