The short answer is yes — you can and you should collect cord blood whether you’re using a surrogate or having the baby yourself.
There are a lot of questions to ask when opting for a surrogate so it’s easy for a conversation about cord blood banking to fall through the cracks. Here are a few pointers to help you make an informed decision and plan ahead to ensure your family reaps the benefits of both surrogacy and cord blood banking.
What Is Surrogacy?
Broadly speaking, surrogacy is when a woman bears a child for another person or couple. There are two types of surrogates: traditional and gestational.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant via intrauterine insemination using her own eggs and thus carries a genetic connection to the baby.
In gestational surrogacy — the vast majority of surrogate arrangements — the surrogate becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization using the genetic material of the intended parents. Gestational surrogates do not share any DNA with the babies they carry.
Gestational surrogacy allows intended parents to have a genetic connection to their child. Intended parents who use surrogates include:
- Couples who have struggled with fertility
- Intended mothers unable to carry a child
- Intended parents who have a genetic defect or health condition they don't want to pass on to the child
- LGBTQIA+ intended parents who want a genetic link to their baby
When looking for a surrogate, it's best to go through an agency, such as Circle Surrogacy, that has vetted the surrogate pursuant to the requirements put forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARM) as well as fertility clinics.
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing the blood (and sometimes tissue) from the baby’s umbilical cord after it is born for the purpose of potentially life-saving stem cell treatments down the road for the baby, its parents, or a sibling.
Why Bank Cord Blood?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cord blood is an excellent source of the hematopoietic stem cells used in most stem cell transplants. These special cells help facilitate the rebuilding and repair of tissue that has been damaged by various genetic and medical conditions [*].
Umbilical cord blood is unique in that it has been shown to contain 10 times more hematopoietic stem cells than bone marrow. Further, cord blood stem cells rarely carry infectious diseases, and are believed to have greater regenerative properties than bone marrow stem cells [*].
Conditions that can be treated with cord blood and stem cell therapies include many immune system disorders, blood disorders, various forms of cancer, and metabolic disorders.
While there are public cord blood banks, the stem cells from your baby’s own cord blood offer a perfect genetic match. This eliminates the risk of transplant rejection — otherwise known as Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) — for the child the stem cells came from, and significantly minimizes the risk for siblings and parents of the child.
Learn more about the benefits of cord blood banking.
Considerations for Intended Parents Using a Surrogate
First and foremost, know what the laws are in your state regarding surrogacy. In some states, surrogacy is not legal or confers certain rights to the gestational mother [*].
Understanding your role and that of your surrogate is key to ensuring a smooth collection process. Keep in mind that it’s the intended parents who choose whether to bank the cord blood, not the surrogate. The intended parents pay for the service and have exclusive rights to the stem cells once collected.
That said, the gestational surrogate does have to consent to the collection of the stem cells, even though the cells do not carry her genetic material and she has no rights to them in the future. MiracleCord employs a standard agreement signed by the intended parents and the gestational surrogate to facilitate this consent.
Considerations for Surrogates
A surrogate’s main role is to support the intended parents in their decision to bank cord blood. Once the intended parents have finalized their choice of cord blood bank, a collection kit will be shipped to the surrogate’s home. The surrogate should pack the kit in their hospital bag and bring it with them to the delivery to ensure everything is ready when the baby comes. MiracleCord may also ship a second kit to the intended parents if they so desire.
Who Decides Whether Cord Blood Will Be Collected?
It is the Intended Parents’ decision to have cord blood collected. If the Intended Parents are working with a surrogacy agency, their agency can help facilitate coordination between the cord blood agency, delivery hospital, parents, and surrogate as needed.
How Cord Blood Is Collected When Using a Surrogate
Collecting cord blood is quick and non-invasive whether you use a surrogate or have the baby yourself. There is a maternal blood draw from the surrogate to test for infectious diseases that a transplant physician would need to be aware of when using the cord blood sample. This is standard practice with cord blood banking as well as routine hospital procedure for the baby’s health. If for some reason the surrogate refuses the maternal blood draw, the cord blood sample would likely not be used by a transplant physician in the future.
The gestational surrogate also needs to complete a health history. If your surrogate was engaged through an agency, she will have already completed a health history as part of the application process.
Not all cord blood banks are created equal. While many perform the same services, the details matter.
MiracleCord was awarded Best Cord Blood Bank in the U.S. in 2021 and again in 2022 by Global Health & Pharma (an independent biotech rating organization) for its advanced technology, fast processing time (yielding significantly more stem cells), and outstanding customer service ratings.
We adhere to the industry's most stringent standards for processing and storing cord blood and tissue stem cells. MiracleCord's state-of-the-art lab facilities are AABB accredited, FDA registered and have decades of experience.
We’re also the industry's most affordable cord blood bank. Our competitors charge more because they pay a nationwide sales force to market to doctors and offer financial incentives for doctors to recommend their service. MiracleCord invests in maintaining industry-leading collection, processing, and storage technology to serve growing families.
In addition to the exceptional value we provide, our customers tell us they appreciate how we take the time to answer their questions so they can make an educated decision.
Quality, value, and affordability…discover for yourself why clients and doctors choose MiracleCord.
The Bottom Line
Choosing a surrogate can be a life-changing decision. Give yourself the time to research your state’s laws regarding surrogacy and to find the right surrogate and agency for you and your family. Be sure to protect this precious investment in your family with the right cord blood bank: MiracleCord.