Both historical and recent studies have identified disturbingly low rates of awareness of cord blood banking. This is true on a global level, even in the United States and Canada where the cord blood banking industry is more mature than in other regions of the world. Because the level of penetration for parental awareness is still shockingly low, education must play a significant role in the selling process for private U.S. cord blood banks.
Historical Study (Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 2006)
A study published in the 2006 Journal of Reproductive Medicine identified that 37% of expectant parents had no knowledge whatsoever about the option to preserve cord blood. Of the two-thirds who have some knowledge, 74% described themselves as “minimally informed.”1 The study also identified that 84% of prenatal patients expected their obstetricians to be able to provide them with information on the subject of cord blood banking. However, only about 14% were educated about cord blood banking by their nurse or obstetrician.2 As such, cord blood industry executives must make efforts to assist with parent education a high priority. Similarly, significant effort should be put toward empowering obstetricians with unbiased information about public and private banking, so that obstetricians can share this knowledge with their patients (expectant parents).
Survey of Recent and Expectant Parents (BioInformant Worldwide, LLC, 2014)
In a 2014 study of 600+ recent and expectant parents conducted by BioInformant Worldwide LLC, 77% of respondents who did not store cord blood (publicly or privately) stated that it was because they did not know it existed as an option.3
Another 8% responded, “I knew about it, but never made a conscious decision for or against it (lack of action).” In total, 85% of respondents (77% + 8%) who did not store cord blood did so due to lack of information that would position them to make an informed decision.4
Unfortunately, lack of parental awareness results in newborn cord blood regularly being discarded as medical waste.
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1 Perlow, J. (2006). Patients’ knowledge of umbilical cord blood banking. Journal of Reproductive Medicine-Chicago, 51(8), p.642.
3 BioInformant Worldwide, LLC (2014). “2014 Survey of Recent and Expectant Parents” Respondents: 603; Survey Executed: January 2014.