What is cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking is when cord blood is collected and stored for treating a disease
or illness.

              -Types of cord blood bank:

     -Public banks:
If you give birth in one of three hospitals in the south east of England, you can donate
cord blood to a public bank, such as the NHS cord blood bank. There is also a small
NHS public bank in Belfast in Northern Ireland (See section Is there anything else I
should know?). Donation is voluntary and collection and storage are free of charge. A
public bank stores cord blood for use by anyone anywhere in the world, thus ensuring
fair access for all patients requiring stem cell transplantation. It is an alternative to a
volunteer bone marrow donor registry.

The RCOG supports public banking and donation to the NHS cord blood bank.
If there is a known genetic condition in your family or you already have a child with
leukaemia or blood-related disorder, your clinician may recommend that you consider
banking your baby’s cord blood. Your clinician may be able to arrange for cord blood to
be collected and stored in the NHS cord blood bank for future use by your family. You
should also discuss this with the doctor looking after the person in your family who is ill.

     -Private (commercial) banks:
People can store cord blood with a private bank in the hope that, in the future, cord
stem cells may be useful, should a member of their own family develop a disease
treatable by stem cell therapy.

The chances of your child ever needing to use his or her own cord blood are extremely
small, so there is no guarantee that the cord blood will ever be needed. Nevertheless,
you may feel this is worthwhile, like an insurance policy.

There is a fee for collection and long-term storage of up to £1,500. Depending on
circumstances, some private banks may store cord blood free of charge for certain
families where there is a known genetic condition.

If you have not banked with a private bank and your child develops a blood-related
disorder, immune system disorder or metabolic storage disorder in the future, then
you still have other options. These are:

  •        ●  Cord blood from a public bank in the UK or internationally.

  •        ●  Use of other sources of therapy such as bone marrow transplants. There is a worldwide collaboration with international bone marrow registries to find suitable matches for patients who require a bone marrow transplant.

  •       ●  Treatment from a sibling who matches a family member who can give bone marrow.

Full written information on the private banking policy at your hospital should be given
to you at your antenatal booking appointment. This information may not be given
routinely, so you may need to ask if you would like to find out more.

The RCOG remains unconvinced about the benefit of storing cord blood with a private bank for families who have no known medical reason to do so.

               -How is cord blood collected safely?

     -The cord blood must be collected safely. It is important that:

  •       A trained technician who is not involved in your or your baby’s care collects the cord blood. It is important that neither your obstetrician nor your midwife should be distracted from looking after you and your baby during and immediately after childbirth. 

  •       There should be no alteration in your ‘usual management’ of labour, such as the delivery of the placenta or clamping of the cord. Some evidence indicates that immediate cord clamping may be harmful to babies. However, delaying cord clamping can prevent a successful cord blood collection.

  •       Cord blood should be collected after the placenta has been delivered in a clean environment using methods and facilities, which meet the required regulations including the EU Tissue and Cells Directive.

     -Cord blood collection may not be advisable or possible if:

  •     ●  The baby is premature.
  •     ●  You have a multiple pregnancy.
  •     ●  The cord around the neck needs to be cut early to deliver the baby.
  •     ●  You are delivered by emergency caesarian section.
  •     ●  You are being prescribed certain medication.
  •     ●  You or the father of the baby have tested positive for a transmissible infection(s).

              -Making an informed decision:

If you are considering private banking you should discuss this with your doctor or
midwife. You may wish to consider the following points:

  •        Not all hospitals allow collection by private banks. You should ask about the private banking policy at your hospital during your antenatal booking appointment. Once you have made a decision about banking, you should let your doctor or midwife know.

  •        You may find that your midwife or obstetrician has been advised by their the professional organisation not to collect blood for a private bank.

  •        There are a number of uncertainties surrounding cord blood storage. For instance, who owns the cord blood legally? What are your rights if the facility storing the cord blood breaks down and the cord blood becomes unusable?

  •     ●   Private banks are run by private companies. If you decide to bank through a private company, you will enter into a contract between yourself and the company. It is your responsibility to check that you are happy with all the terms and conditions of the contract. Some private companies make additional charges to screen for bacterial diseases.

  •        Since April 2006, all UK cord blood banks come under the EU Directive on tissue Cells 2004/23/EC and are required to be licensed by the Human Tissue authority (HTA). Cord blood should be collected and banked in accordance with this. If you choose to use a private bank, it is your responsibility to check that the private bank is approved and follows correct procedures.

              -Some questions to ask are as follows:

  •        Is the bank accredited/licensed for storage of cord blood?
  •        If it is a UK bank, has it been licensed by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA)?
  •        Does the bank follow proper collection procedures?
  •        What happens if no stem cells are collected?
  •        Does the bank follow best practice testing regimens?
  •        Does the bank follow best practice sample storage?
  •        Where is the cord blood stored?
  •        Is the transportation to the storage facility checked to ensure the blood is kept appropriately?
  •         When is the stored cord blood no longer useful?
  •        What happens to the cord blood when it is no longer needed?
  •        Who is responsible for screening the blood to ensure that HIV/hepatitis positive cord blood is stored separately?
  •        Could my child or any of my children use the cord blood, if I am not around?
  •        What will happen to my cord blood, if the bank is no longer functioning in the future?

              -Useful additional information:

A Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Banks:

The Society of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists of Canada patient information leaflet:

The Anthony Nolan Trust is a charity that recruits and registers bone marrow donors:

              -Is there anything else I should know?
  •    ●   The commercial company advertising itself as the UK Cord Blood Bank is not the same as the NHS Cord Blood Bank.

  •    ●   The hospitals that routinely collect cord blood for storage in a public bank are Northwick Park Hospital in Middlesex, Barnet Hospital in Hertfordshire, the Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Trust in Luton and the Mater Hospital Trust in Belfast.

              -Get now What is cord blood banking (video):

Just like we didn't envision the powers of PCs thirty years ago, we may not be seeing all the uses of cord blood yet.
                                                                                       Dr. LeeAnn Jensen

Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants

Some children who have leukemia or other types of cancer may need a bone marrow transplant (BMT) or a peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT). In these treatments, the blood cells in the diseased or damaged bone marrow - the spongy material that fills the inside of bones and makes blood cells - are replaced with healthy cells (Stem Cell Transplants), which will grow new healthy cells.
Stem cells are immature cells that produce the three types of blood cells:

  1. 1. White blood cells, which fight infection.

  1. 2. Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to and remove waste products from organs and tissues.

  1. 3. Platelets, which enable the blood to clot.

Most stem cells are found in the bone marrow, but some - called peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) - are collected from the bloodstream. Umbilical cord blood also contains stem cells. If your doctor proposes a stem cell transplant for your child, the stem cells may come from a donor's bone marrow, bloodstream, or umbilical cord blood or from your child's own bone marrow or bloodstream.

Healthy stem cells grow in two ways:

  •     . They divide to form more stem cells.

  •       .They mature into white cells, red cells, and platelets.

When transplanted into a cancer patient, stem cells can rescue the damaged blood-forming system.

Two circumstances create the need for a transplant. The first is when the cancer itself has injured the bone marrow. BMT and PBSCT are commonly used in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. The second circumstance is when a treatment requires such large doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy that the child's bone marrow is damaged during treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy target all cells that divide rapidly. Cancer cells divide more rapidly than most healthy cells and so are destroyed by the therapies. Bone marrow cells, however, also divide more rapidly than other healthy cells, so high-dosage treatment can have a damaging effect on them as well.

A BMT or PBSCT can be done in three ways: as an autologous transplant, an allogeneic transplant, or a syngeneic transplant.

  • Autologous transplant - The child's own stem cells or PBSCs cells are used. They can be obtained from the bone marrow or from blood, using the apheresis procedure. Stem cells are collected while the child is in remission. To make sure that any cancer cells that remain are destroyed, the marrow may be treated with anticancer drugs. After the marrow or PBSCs are collected, the child receives high-dose chemotherapy, usually over 2 to 6 days, and, frequently, total body irradiation, during which the whole body is radiated, in one dose or in many doses over several days, to get rid of the cancer. The collected marrow or PBSCs are then returned to the child through a vein, as in a blood transfusion.

  • Allogeneic transplant - The marrow or PBSCs from a sibling, parent, or someone not related to the child are used for the transplant. The transplanted material must be as closely matched to the patient's blood cells as possible. Cord blood transplant is allogeneic.

  • Syngeneic transplant - The perfectly matched marrow or PBSCs from an identical twin are used for the transplant.

Before the transplant, a catheter is usually inserted into a large vein in the chest for transplanting the marrow or PBSCs, as well as for giving blood, antibiotics, and other drugs and for drawing blood. The child is given high doses of anticancer drugs and/or radiation. When the cancer cells - along with some healthy bone marrow cells - are destroyed, the new, healthy marrow or PBSCs can be given. The healthy marrow or PBSCs are given through the catheter and travel through the bloodstream to the bone marrow where they start to make red and white blood cells and platelets.

It usually takes 14 to 30 days after the transplant for the transplanted stem cells to make enough white blood cells to fight infection and to make other blood cells. During this time, your child will be at higher risk for infections, anemia, and bleeding. Complete recovery of your child's immune system can take 1 to 2 years after an autologous, allogeneic, or syngeneic transplant. Your child may need to remain in a hospital room that is kept as free as possible from anything that may cause an infection. Supportive care, which includes receiving blood transfusions and antibiotics, will be given.

  • Supportive Care

Children having a BMT or PBSCT usually stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 months (sometimes longer), although outpatient BMT can be done for children who have brain tumors. Children receiving BMT or PBSCT may need supportive care.

For more information on side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, see the charts in those sections.

  • Graft-Versus-Host Disease

The graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) may occur in patients who receive bone marrow or peripheral stem cells from a donor. In GVHD, donated stem cells realize they are in a different body, so they may attack the patient's tissues, such as the liver, skin, or digestive tract. GVHD can be mild or very severe and can occur any time after the transplant - even years later. The doctor may give drugs to reduce the risk of GVHD and to treat the problem if it occurs.

Supportive Care for BMT and PBSCT:

Problem: Supportive Care Provided:
Low counts of all types of blood cells Isolation from people with infectious diseases.
Transfusion with blood products, including platelets and red blood cells.
Treatment with proteins that increase the number of white blood cells.
Infections Intravenous antibiotics.
Isolation from other people.
Gastrointestinal Infections Low-bacteria diet.
Mouth care.
Liquid antibiotics.
Difficulty eating enough food Intravenous nutrition-giving nutrients through a vein.

Cord blood donation

Cord blood donation

Cord blood donation – Many countries have a national cord blood banking system.  Unfortunately, the US is not one of them.  There are banks in the US which do take donations from the general public in certain areas.  Some of them are for-profit brokers who sell the cord blood to patients and research facilities, and others are set up as non-profit collection centers.  Most of them all connect their databases to the National Marrow Donor Program, which conducts searches for patients needing cord blood for transplant or treatment.  It is important to understand that once you give your cord blood away, it will most probably never be available to you or your family.  If you have decided not to bank privately for your family, please consider donating it to one of these collection facilities as opposed to throwing away this valuable resource.

Cord blood donation, blood collected and stored from the umbilical cord of a baby at birth, is one of three sources for blood transfusions in illnesses like leukemia and lymphoma. The other two sources are bone marrow and peripheral or circulating blood. This type of transplant does not have to match the recipient as closely as the other two. At birth, a mother can have the infant cord blood stored for her own family. Some people also will donate cord blood to blood banks or specific people who are seriously ill.Cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells and that is why it can be used for transplants.

Cord blood donation, Some examples of where banked cord blood might be used include people who are in need of a transplant quickly, or people who are having a hard time finding a matching bone marrow donor. Because cord blood does not need to match a tissue type as closely as other tissue transplants, people from racially or ethnically diverse communities can be helped more readily by a cord blood transplant. Cord blood is often stored on site at a hospital or trauma center and can be used more quickly when needed in an emergency. It is a viable choice to have a cord blood donation used in these situations. Many hospitals now have banked umbilical cord blood.

Donating cord blood to a public cord blood bank is free. When you donate umbilical cord blood, it is available to any patient in need of a blood stem cell transplant--it is not reserved for your family's own use. For more on donating cord blood, call the National Marrow Donor Program at 1-800-627-7692.

I've been involved with blood donation since the 1980s because there is a critical need.
Donna Reed 
Get here how to donate a blood

What is cord blood?

What is cord blood?

Before a baby is born he is connected to his mother by the umbilical cord and placenta. They allow nutrients to flow from the mother into the baby. After a baby is born his umbilical cord is cut and he is detached from the mother. The remaining umbilical cord and placenta, called the afterbirth, is expelled from the mother’s body minutes after the baby is born. Usually, the doctors and nurses throw it away. However, there is blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta, and this blood can be collected and used to help someone. It is called ‘cord blood’.

  • What is cord blood used for? 

Cord blood has been used in the treatment of more than 70 different diseases so far. The most common disease category has been leukemia. The next largest group are inherited diseases (of red blood cells, the immune system, and certain metabolic abnormalities.) Patients with "lymphoma", "myelodysplasia" and severe "aplastic" anemia have also been successfully transplanted with cord blood. 
"Cord blood" is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. Umbilical cord blood contains unique cells called "stem cells" what is Cord blood is collected after the baby is born and immediately after the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. It is a painless, safe procedure. When cord blood is collected and stored, the stem cells are immediately available for transplantation.

  • What's special about cord blood?

Cord blood stem cells can be used in the treatment of many life-threatening diseases including certain cancers and immune and genetic disorders. what is Cord blood stem cells have the ability to treat the same diseases as bone marrow with significantly less rejection? Stem cell research may also help provide new treatments for stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy, to name a few.

  • Why store your baby’s umbilical cord blood?

Your baby's birth provides the once-in-a-lifetime chance to collect and freeze your baby's unique cord blood stem cells for their current uses, and future potential medical uses.
Cord blood stem cells are a perfect match for your baby, have a 25% probability of being an exact match for a sibling (even greater chances of being a viable match), and can be potentially used for parents and grandparents.

  • What Are Cord Blood Registries?

A Cord Blood Registry, or what is Cord Blood Bank, refers to a private service that has been set up to allow you to store (or bank) the umbilical cord blood of your newborn son or daughter.
Cord blood registries are new services that are designed to allow you to save the stem cells found in cord blood from your child at the time of the birth. There currently is some debate on whether cord blood banking is yet a practical solution for parents concerned about the health of their children, but many consider it a simple life insurance against unforeseen illness.

  • Is Cord Blood Storage Expensive?

At this time, cord blood bank storage services are not inexpensive. Many services will charge an upfront fee for the collection of cord blood (at the time of delivery), as well as yearly fees to store the blood. The current costs of cord blood storage are probably the biggest argument against it.

Did you understand What is cord blood? if you don't understand make a comment.

What is cord blood? And why is cord blood banking important?

There's nothing more important than the health of our babies.

If you are an expectant parent thinking about storing your baby’s cord blood, here’s some information about what cord blood is and why cord blood banking is important.

A baby’s umbilical cord is cut right after childbirth. Once the umbilical cord is cut, some blood is left over in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord. This placental blood is called umbilical ‘cord blood’.

Like the whole blood, cord blood important also contains plasma, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. But, most importantly, it is also a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells.

Medical research has proven that these stem cells found in cord blood has a huge potential in treating hematopoietic and genetic disorders. It is estimated that the stem cells in cord blood can cure about eighty diseases in blood, cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer and genetic disorders.

Cord blood banking and research has enabled the use of cord blood banking important as a substitute to bone marrow, which is the commonly used source of stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are much more primitive than bone marrow stem cells and this makes it more effective and adaptable in treating diseases.

The risk of graft versus host disease (GVHD) which occurs due to mismatching tissues between the donor and recipient is less while using cord blood. Moreover, the other advantages of cord blood stem cells over bone marrow stem cells are Collecting stem cells from umbilical cord is easier than having to do a surgery to collect them Bone marrow collection can be painful and a involves a small percentage of risk to the donor As what is cord blood is easily available, and can be stored using cord blood banking methods, more people can readily benefit from it.

  • Cord blood stem cells can be transplanted to anyone while finding an exact matching bone marrow will be difficult.
  • Cord blood stem cells are purer and reduce the risk of getting infected by certain viruses that may be present in bone marrow stem cells.

However, it is cord blood important to understand that even though many private cord blood banks advertise cord blood as a ‘wonder therapy’, this is a science which is still under research and treatment of many of the diseases are still under animal trial and no clinical trial in humans are carried out.

If there is no family history of specific genetic diseases, it is more advisable to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank for use of public (which might include any of your relative’s also) in future, rather than spending on preserving it in a private cord blood bank.

Get also ( 4 Ways to Cut the Umbilical Cord of a Baby )