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Cord Blood Banking and Down Syndrome

By March 19, 2009

I was reading through a pamphlet on newborn screening the other day and came across a page describing cord blood banking. As I read the page, I started to wonder about cord blood banking for an infant with Down syndrome. My first thoughts were that it was a no brainer - of course you would do it. Infants with Down syndrome have a small but increased risk to develop leukemia, and leukemia which can be treated with stem cells obtained from cord blood, right? Apparently, it is not this simple!

As I thought a this situation a little more, I began to have questions. There are two options for cord blood banking in the United States currently - public cord blood banking and private cord blood banking. Dr. Vincent Iannelli has a great article covering the current status of cord blood banking in the U.S. Since private banking is so expensive, I decided to contact Cryobanks International (the national public cord blood banking facility) to see what their policy was on collecting cord blood from infants with Down syndrome. To my surprise, they said they would not accept a sample from an infant with Down syndrome! Unfortunately, the person that I was talking to was unsure of the science behind their policy so I am going to have to call back for more clarification.

Before I talked to the private cord blood banking facilities, I decided that I needed to focus my question a little bit. Instead of asking whether they would bank the cord blood from an infant with Down syndrome, I decided that the more important question that I needed answered was if any infant with Down syndrome had ever been treated with their own cord blood? While I am sure that the for-profit centers would bank an infant with Down syndrome's cord blood for a price, it really is more important to know if the cord blood is usable. I have posed this question to two of the main for-profit cord blood registries and I am waiting for their answers. As soon as I hear anything, I will update this blog!

Did you look into donating or banking your infant with Down syndrome's cord blood? What were you told?

July 2, 2009 at 1:04 am
(1) Corinna says:

I’m looking into saving our 3rd child’s cord blood in case our 2nd child with Down Syndrome happens to get cancer. I think your question is a great one and I’m curious of that myself. Hope you get an answer.

July 25, 2009 at 5:54 am
(2) Puneet says:

we are expecting a baby in Nov’09, during teh prenatal sonography our baby had certain markers for downs, though the doctor has assured that the same would be fine. But we are a bit anxiuous, we are also planning for cord blood banking to secure our baby’s future just in case teh same is required. Your question seems valid and we await your reply as well

September 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm
(3) Joanne says:

I banked my son’s cord and it was surprise to us that he did have down syndrome. However, the bank did accept it and I am keeping it there until I find out more information.

September 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm
(4) Christy says:

I have a patient who is interested in your very question. Can the cord blood be used for that child should she develop leukemia in the future? My concern is that the stem cells would not help since they too contain the extra chromosome. Have you heard back?

November 5, 2009 at 10:49 am
(5) Daviette says:

Since cord blood is so versatile, and the potential for use with ANY bodily system/organ etc, it doesn’t make sense to me that it would be rejected. I was not aware that my son had DS before he was born. I had considered cord blood storage for him and was talked out of it by my OB. Now I have stored by younger sons cord blood. From what I know it is best to use your OWN cord blood for your own treatment.

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