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Can I bank cord blood for twins?

You can preserve cord blood from twins in a family bank, but not in a public bank.

Public banks have a policy against accepting cord blood donations from twin births. One argument often heard is that the bank is afraid that the babies might be confused at birth. However obstetricians are trained to keep track of which baby is which in a multiple birth. The primary reason that public cord blood banks do not accept twin donations is that they have a size threshold for accepting donations. Twins tend to be smaller than single babies, hence they have less cord blood in the umbilical cord and the placenta, and in public banking it is crucial to get large donations. The chances are so low that both twins will have enough cord blood to meet the donation storage threshold that public banks just do not accept registrations from moms who are pregnant with twins.

Family banks have no problem accepting cord blood from twin births. Parents might have a problem paying for double cord blood banking, but almost every family cord blood bank offers special discounts for twin births. Some good news about banking from twins: the family bank Cryo-Cell ran a study which showed that their twins have enough cord blood for therapy.

Some parents ask if they should save the cord blood for both twins or only one? It is better biological insurance to save newborn stem cells from both twins. In the case of fraternal twins, the babies are distinct individuals with different DNA. In the case of identical twins, the babies have identical DNA. However, one identical twin may develop a genetic mutation later in life that causes a disease while the other twin does not. If that happens, then the healthy twin is the perfect matching stem cell donor, and there have been transplants where one identical twin donated cord blood to another.