Excerpt: 'Eat, Sleep, Poop' by Scott Cohen

2. If you are someone who is going to stay up at night worrying about the slim possibility of your child being affected by an illness that may benefit from transplanting her own stem cells—and money is not an issue. If you fit into either of these categories and choose to use a private cord blood bank, make sure the company has an institutional review-board-approved protocol with signed informed consent, and that it complies with national accreditation standards developed by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as similar state agencies. You should also know that there are two types of cord blood banks: private and public. Private banks are private companies that you pay to bank your child's cord blood for the sole use by your child or someone you designate it to. These banks charge a collection fee as well as a monthly or yearly holding fee. Public banks, on the other hand, bank cord blood for anyone's use, free of charge. This is similar to a blood bank. A donation to a public cord bank is a gift of life to someone who can really use it.

Common Sense Bottom Line
Cord blood banking companies are asking you to buy insurance that you will likely not need. The chances of your child needing her own cord blood stem cells range from one in one thousand to one in two hundred thousand.* And there is no evidence of the safety of such stem cell transplantations. My recommendation is that you decline the offer to store your child's cord blood in a private bank unless you fall into one of the two categories listed above. If you want your baby's stem cells to potentially help someone else, store them in a public bank.

It's Time!—The Hospital and What to Bring

Now that you've used your Common Sense Parenting smarts to get ready for the big day, think about the hospital where your newborn will arrive. Does your pediatrician have privileges at the hospital you've chosen? Does your hospital have a neonatal intensive care unit and pediatricians on staff who are available in case of emergency? These are some of the questions my wife and I had before our daughter was born. We didn't want to be in a situation where we had to be transported to another hospital for a specialist, rather than having everything at our disposal under one roof. Luckily, both our obstetrician and pediatrician had privileges at a hospital that fit these requirements, which alleviated a lot of our anxiety.

Whatever questions you might have at this point, the more you have answered prior to delivery the more empowered and less anxious you will feel. So make a list of questions that are still of concern to you, and find out the answers. As you look forward to B-day, here are my suggestions for making sure you're ready:

• Take an infant CPR class. You should be able to find one at your local hospital. When you know what to do in case of an emergency, you'll feel more confident and empowered.

• Take a tour of the hospital. Be familiar with the labor and delivery rooms and where you are supposed to check in. Visit the newborn nursery, the rooms where you are going to stay, and where your baby is going to be taken for testing after delivery.

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