cord blood stem cell transplant | collection and preservation of cord blood for personal use

* Disclaimer: Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work and only a doctor can determine when it can be used. Cord tissue stem cells are not approved for use in treatment, but research is ongoing. 
Cord blood use is one of the most exciting areas of research in medical science today. Researchers are studying treatments for cerebral palsy by using the cord blood obtained at birth. Autism treatments using cord blood are underway as well, along with other potentially fatal disorders and diseases. The potential of what cord blood could provide for future medical needs has a lot of upside and not much downside.
Meet Dylan. Diagnosed with leukemia at just 8 weeks old, he received a life-saving cord blood transplant at 6 months old. Today, Dylan is growing up strong, going to school, travelling with his family and just having fun being a kid!





Cord blood donation doesn’t cost anything for parents. Public cord blood banks pay for everything which includes the collection, testing, and storing of umbilical cord blood. This means that cord blood donation is not possible in every hospital.
Since 1988, cord blood transplants have been used to treat over 80 diseases in hospitals around the world. Inherited blood disorders such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia can be cured by cord blood transplant. Over the past decade, clinical trials have been developing cord blood therapies for conditions that affect brain development in early childhood, such as cerebral palsy and autism.
Cord blood stem cells can be used in the treatment nearly 80 diseases today. Click on a category below to see specific diseases. Note: Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work and only a doctor can determine when it can be used.
Cord tissue is rich in a completely different type of stem cell. With over fifty clinical trials currently in progress, researchers agree that banking cord tissue is the future of stem cell banking. Learn more >
You can choose to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank or have it stored in a private bank just for your family. Some hospitals and medical centers are affiliated with public banks — you can check to see about whether this applies to the hospital where you’re planning to give birth.
For families that may not be able to afford private cord blood banking, there are some financial aid options that are available. Certain charitable organizations work with the more than 25 certified private blood banks to subsidize the initial collection cost, shipping costs, and storage fees that are necessary. Although some families may still not be able to afford private banking, even with financial aid, there are opportunities for more families to store cord blood now more than ever before.
The syringe or bag should be pre-labeled with a unique number that identifies your baby. Cord blood may only be collected during the first 15 minutes following the birth and should be processed by the laboratory within 48 hours of collection.
The key benefit of cord blood banking involves those stem cells. Those cells can turn themselves into numerous other cells that can help older children (or even adults) receive a level of protection from a disease, such as leukemia, that attacks the immune or circulatory system. Even certain metabolic disorders can be treated thanks to stem cells saved through cord blood banking.
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The term “cord blood” is used for the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Cord Blood contains stem cells that can grow into blood and immune system cells, as well as other types of cells. Today cord blood is often used as a substitute for bone marrow in stem cell transplants. There are over 80 diseases treated this way, including cancers, blood disorders, genetic and metabolic diseases.
Once cord blood is in a public bank, it is listed as available on a national registry. People who need stem cell transplants and are looking for a match may be able to use it. In 2016, cord blood was used to help 29% of patients who received a transplant in the US, according to the HRSA.
Cord blood is collected by your obstetrician or the staff at the hospital where you give birth. Not all hospitals offer this service. Some charge a separate fee that may or may not be covered by insurance.
If you are considering cord blood banking when your baby is born, talk over the options with your health care provider, and look into your family’s medical history to see if your child, or your family, is at risk for certain diseases.
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Genes: Segments of DNA that contain instructions for the development of a person’s physical traits and control of the processes in the body. They are the basic units of heredity and can be passed down from parent to offspring.
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After your unit arrives at ViaCord’s Processing Lab, specialists will process your baby’s stem cells to maximize cell yield. They are then transferred to a transplant-ready cryobag for storage at or below ≤ -170º C (brrr). 
However, most cord banks state one of the key factors in successful cord blood treatment is the volume of blood which is infused with stem cells: the greater the cord blood volume, the greater the chance of a successful outcome for the treatment.
Private or family banks store cord blood for autologous use or directed donation for a family member. Private banks charge a yearly fee for storage. Blood stored in a private bank must meet the same standards as blood stored in a public bank. If you have a family member with a disorder that may potentially be treated with stem cells, some private banks will store the cord blood free of charge.
If you decided to donate cord blood, it is highly unlikely the blood would be available for you or a close relative later on in life. If cord blood is ever needed in the future you would have to pay for a donation made by another (compatible) donor.
To save money, public banks will not even process a cord blood donation unless they know in advance that they are going to keep it. When the collection first arrives at the lab, it is passed through a cell counting machine. Only collections that have at least 900 million nucleated cells are kept. As a result, over 60%-80% of cord blood donations are discarded. The public bank must absorb the expense of the collection kit and delivery charges for discarded blood; typically $100 per unit.
Sam McCulloch enjoyed talking so much about birth she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she writes . She is mother to three beautiful little humans.
The process used to collect cord blood is simple and painless. After the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped. Blood is drawn from the cord with a needle that has a bag attached. The process takes about 10 minutes.
We offer standard and premium cord blood processing options. Our standard service has been used in thousands of successful transplants since 1988 and begins at $1600. For $350 more, our premium service uses a superior new processing method that greatly enhances parents’ return on investment. (Please visit our processing technology page to learn about our cord blood processing methods.) For an additional $950, you can also store your baby’s cord tissue, which has the potential to help heal the body in different ways than cord blood.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. The purpose of this is to help with education and create better conversations between patients and their healthcare providers.
There are around 20 companies in the United States offering public cord blood banking and 34 companies offering private (or family) cord blood banking. Public cord blood banking is completely free (collecting, testing, processing, and storing), but private cord blood banking costs between $1,400 and $2,300 for collecting, testing, and registering, plus between $95 and $125 per year for storing. Both public and private cord blood banks require moms to be tested for various infections (like hepatitis and HIV).
Banked cord blood is most abundant in white blood cells and stem cells. While a lot of attention is paid to the stem cells, there are approximately 10 times more total nucleated cells (TNCs) than stem cells in any cord blood collection. TNCs are basically white blood cells, or leukocytes; they are the cells of the immune system that protect the body. Despite stem cells comprising one-tenth of most collections, cord blood is still considered a rich source of hematopoietic (he-mah-toe-po-ee-tic) stem cells (HSCs). HSCs are often designated by the marker CD34+. Hematopoietic stem cells can become two categories of cells: myeloid and lymphoid cells. Myeloid cells go on to form your red blood cells, platelets, and other cells of the blood. Lymphoid cells go on to become the B cells and T cells and are the basis for the immune system. Cord blood also contains mesenchymal (meh-sen-ki-mal) stem cells (MSCs), but they are much more abundant in cord tissue, which we will discuss in a minute.
Each cord blood bank has different directions for returning the consent form. Some banks may ask you to mail the consent form along with the health history forms or to bring the original consent form with you to the hospital. Other banks may have you finish the form at the hospital. Follow the directions from your public cord blood bank.
Another way scientists are working with stem cells is through expansion technologies that spur replication of the cord blood stem cells. If proven effective and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these expansion technologies will allow scientists to culture many stem cells from a small sample. This could provide doctors and researchers with enough stem cells to treat multiple family members with one cord blood collection or provide the baby with multiple treatments over time. To better prepare for the day when these expansion technologies are more easily accessible, some cord blood banks have begun to separate their cord blood collections into separate compartments, which can easily be detached from the rest of the collection and used independently. You can learn more about Cryo-Cell’s five-chambered storage bag here.
It varies. Cord blood banking can be free, or it can cost a few thousand dollars or more. How much you pay will depend on several different factors, like whether your insurance covers the collection process, whether your doctor or midwife charges a collection fee, whether you opt for a public storage bank (which is free) or private storage bank (which can cost a couple thousand dollars or more), or whether there is an existing family medical need (in which case some private banks offer free or discounted storage).
Since then, many families who suffered from a compatible disease grew hopeful for this newfound anecdote that seems to save so many lives effortlessly. This year to count there are 600,000 umbilical cord blood samples that have been stored and over 30,000 transplants performed. Cord blood can save lives, but cord blood banking may not be the right decision for you and your family. Read on to find out why.
Keep in mind that it’s still very unlikely your child will ever tap into her own saved cord blood later in life (the odds are 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 20,000 by some estimates). In fact, a baby’s own cord blood cells may be unsuitable to treat any condition that appears down the road because the mutations responsible for that disorder are typically present at birth. What’s more, the chances that you’ll be able to use your baby’s donated cord blood to treat an adult family member are also low. That’s because most stored units of cord blood don’t contain enough stem cells to treat anyone weighing more than 90 pounds. Donating your baby’s cord blood to a public bank does widen the scope of those in need who could benefit.
Like most transplants, the stem cells must be a genetic match with the patients to be accepted by the body’s immune system. It goes without saying that a patient’s own cord blood will be a 100% match. The second highest chance of a genetic match comes from siblings.
A “clinical trial” is a study in human patients for an emerging therapy that has not been adopted as standard therapy. This website has pages that enable patients to search worldwide for currently recruiting clinical trials with ether cord blood or umbilical cord tissue MSC. The table below checks off all diagnoses that have ever been treated in clinical trials with cord blood or cord tissue, regardless of whether the trials are still open.
Your baby’s newborn stem cells are transported to our banking facilities by our medical courier partner, and you can receive tracking updates. Each sample is processed and stored with great care at our laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. CBR’s Quality Standard means we test every cord blood sample for specific quality metrics.
‡ Payment Plan Disclosures for in-house CBR 6-Month Plan (interest free) – No credit check required. The 6-month plan requires a $10/month administrative fee. The plans may be prepaid in full at any time.
First, a little history. The first transplant took place in 1988 with a 5-year-old in Paris who was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. Post-treatment, the patient exhibits no signs of the disease and is now healthy over 25 years later.
Sometimes, not enough cord blood can be collected. This problem can occur if the baby is preterm or if it is decided to delay clamping of the umbilical cord. It also can happen for no apparent reason. If an emergency occurs during delivery, priority is given to caring for you and your baby over collecting cord blood.
Donors to public banks must be screened for blood or immune system disorders or other problems. With a cord blood donation, the mother’s blood is tested for genetic disorders and infections, and the cord blood also is tested after it is collected. Once it arrives at the blood bank, the cord blood is “typed.” It is tracked by a computer so that it can be found quickly for any person who matches when needed.
The majority of programs that accept cord blood donations require the mother to sign up in advance. In the united States, the current requirement is to sign up by the 34th week of pregnancy. This cannot be over-stressed; time and time again, mothers who want to donate are turned away because they did not inquire about donation until it was too late.

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