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Cord Blood

Cord Blood

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood, also referred to as umbilical cord blood, is the blood present in the umbilical cord and placenta before, during, and after birth of an infant. Cord blood, just like bone marrow, contains an abundant amount of stem cells which can be used to treat certain types of hemolytic, metabolic and immunologic diseases.

What is Cord Blood Banking?

  • Cord blood banking is the storage and preservation of cord blood at a facility and used for treatment of certain types of hemolytic, metabolic and immunologic diseases.
  • Cord blood can be donated to a public bank for use by anyone in need or can be banked privately for family use.
  • Parents are urged to notify the cord blood bank (private or public) as soon as possible, ideally before the 34th week of pregnancy, if choosing to store their newborn’s cord blood.
  • Check out this Labor & Delivery FAQ sheet provided to us by Viacord.
  • There are three main types of transplants: autologous, syngeneic, and allogeneic.
    • Autologous transplantation refers to using one’s own stem cells therefore eliminating the risk of GVHD.
      • Autologous stem cells are normally not used for the donor since the donated blood contains the same defect/condition that the donor is suffering from.
    • Syngeneic transplantation refers to using the stem cells from an identical twin thereby providing a perfect HLA match and eliminating the risk of GVHD.
    • Allogeneic transplantation refers to using donor stem cells from a sibling, family member, or an unrelated donor and is the most common type of stem cell transplantation presently used.
  • Unfortunately, approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of the cord blood collected cannot be stored due to an insufficient number of cells in the sample.

Private Banking vs. Public Banking

  • Public donations are encouraged by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation since the probability of using one’s own cord blood is very small.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics does support private banking if a family member has a medical condition which requires (or potentially requires) stem cell transplantation.

Private Public

-Initial processing fee ($1700-$2200)
-Monthly storage fee ($50-$150)
-One-time fee for MD to obtain cord blood (varies among MDs)Note: Some banks will wave fees if there is a proven family need.
Also, some insurance companies may cover these fees.
-Free to donate
-Recipient pays when specimen is retrieved for transplantation
Available for -Donor (although not usually used for donor)
-Family members
-Anyone in need
(Note: future use for donor or donor’s family are not insured)
-May be used for research

Donor Information
-Preserved with the cord blood for future use -Anonymous (after initial testing is complete)
Facilities Available -Many private banking options -Fewer public banking options
-Can donate to foundations, non-profit banks, and some hospitals

Finding a Credible Private Cord Blood Bank


Article written by: Diba Tillery RN, BSN
Babies 411 is an on-line information and resource center for parents. It has been developed by Diba, a neonatal intensive care nurse, with the sole purpose of promoting the health, safety, and well-being of all babies.

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