In Hong Kong you have two main choices if you wish to preserve your baby’s cord blood and your options entirely depend on whether you are having your baby in a public or private hospital.
Public hospital birth: your cord blood banking options
When giving birth in a Hong Kong public hospital, your cord blood banking options are limited. You can only donate your baby’s cord blood to the city’s public bank, the Hong Kong Red Cross Catherine Chow Cord Blood Bank. The process is entirely free, with a team from the Red Cross sent to collect your newborn’s blood at the hospital.
It is very important to note that the service is only available at two Hospital Authority hospitals – that is if you deliver at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital or the United Christian Hospital.
Under the public system, your baby’s cord blood can be used to treat others or used for medical research. There is no guarantee that it could be used by you or your child if needed.
Private hospital birth: your cord blood banking options
When giving birth in a Hong Kong private hospital, you can have your newborn’s cord blood extracted and stored at a private blood bank. This option guarantees that the blood will be available for you and your family in the future.
There are about seven private bank providers in Hong Kong that charge around $880-$1,600 per year, with the price depending on the length of your storage contract. Plus, private hospitals charge a fee for extracting cord blood right after birth.
Private cord blood banking offers more choices, including the option of flying your banked blood to European countries where cord blood banking is more stringently regulated.
See the Healthy Matters Directory for a full list of cord blood banks in Hong Kong.
If you are considering the pros and cons of cord blood banking, you should discuss the matter with an obstetrician and/or pediatrician.