Cord Blood Banking

Image of doctor cutting a newborn's umbilical cord

Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. This blood is usually discarded. However, cord blood banking utilizes facilities to store and preserve a baby’s cord blood. If you are considering storing your baby’s cord blood, make sure to use a cord blood bank accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), like Viacord.

For information about cord blood banking you may call Viacord toll-free at 1-866-384-0476.

Why would I store my baby’s blood in a cord blood bank?

The cord blood of your baby is an abundant source of stem cells that are genetically related to your baby and your family. Stem cells are dominant cells in the way they contribute to the development of all tissues, organs, and systems in the body.

Stem cells are able to transform into other types of cells in the body to create new growth and development. They are also the building blocks of the immune system. The transformation of these cells provides doctors with a way to treat leukemia and some inherited health disorders.

The stem cells from your baby’s cord blood may also be effective in treating certain diseases or conditions of a parent or sibling. Cord blood stem cells have similar ability to treat disease as bone marrow but with significantly less rejection.

Banking a baby’s blood and stem cells in a cord blood bank is a type of insurance. Ideally, you would not need to access your baby’s stem cells in order to address a medical concern. However, using a cord blood bank can provide peace of mind in knowing that you have a valuable resource if you need it.

How is cord blood collected?

The cord blood collection process is simple, safe, and painless. The process usually takes no longer than five minutes. Cord blood collection does not interfere with delivery and is possible with both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.

Your health care provider will use either the syringe method or bag method for collecting the blood:

  • Syringe method: a syringe is used to draw blood from the umbilical cord shortly after the umbilical cord has been cut. The process is similar to drawing blood for a regular blood test.
  • Bag method: the umbilical cord is elevated to drain the blood into a bag.

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.

What happens to the cord blood once it has been collected?

The baby’s cord blood will be processed and stored in a laboratory facility, often referred to as a blood bank. The cord blood should be processed and stored in a facility that is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) for the purpose of handling stem cells.

What are the health risks to the mother or to the baby?

There are no health risks related to cord blood collection. Cord blood is retrieved from the umbilical cord after it has been cut, thus preventing any pain, discomfort, or harm. This process is completely safe.

How much does cord blood banking cost?

There are usually two fees involved in cord blood banking. The first is the initial fee that covers enrollment, collection, and storage for at least the first year. The second is an annual storage fee. Some facilities vary the initial fee based upon the length of a predetermined period of storage.

Depending on the predetermined period of storage, the initial fee can range from $900 to $2100. Annual storage fees after the initial storage fee are approximately $100. It is common for storage facilities to offer prepaid plans at a discount and payment plans to help make the initial storage a more attractive option for you and your family.

What if I do not want to store the cord blood?

Your baby’s cord blood could be a valuable resource for another family.  From foundations to non-profit blood banks and medical facilities, there are numerous locations that will collect, process, and use the stem cells from your baby’s cord blood to treat other people.

Just like other blood donations, there is no cost to the donor of cord blood. If you do not choose to store your baby’s blood, please consider donating it. Your donation could make a difference in someone else’s life.

Click here to find a public cord blood donation site in your area.

Where can I learn more about cord blood banking and arrange for cord blood banking services?

There are several cord blood banks that are accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks. Most offer information on cord blood banking and provide private cord blood banking services. With a little research, you should be able to locate a credible cord blood bank online.

Viacord is accredited by the AABB, and they are available to provide immediate answers to your questions. They can be reached toll-free at 1-866-384-0476.

Last Updated: 08/2015

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Viacord, http://www.viacord.com