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Health & Baby

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Cord Blood Banking

How is cord blood collected?

Whether you want to donate or privately store your child’s cord blood, you must plan ahead to ensure that your doctor and hospital are prepared to collect it and that a collection kit is available during your delivery.

Most public cord blood banks require that parents complete registration between the 28th and 34th weeks of pregnancy. Moms who are donating also must pass a health history test.

Both donated and private-use cord blood can be collected either before or after the placenta is delivered. After your baby’s umbilical cord has been cut and clamped, your doctor or nurse will insert a small needle into the discarded umbilical vein and draw out the blood. A courier then takes the blood to the blood bank. There, stem cells are separated from the rest of the blood and then stored frozen in liquid nitrogen.

How do I find a cord blood bank?

The Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation provides links to public and private cord blood banks. If you choose to store your child’s cord blood with a private bank, do your research. “Be wary of private banks making extravagant cure claims for cerebral palsy and severe neurological conditions,” Shearer says. There are more than 30 private banks in the U.S. Before choosing one, find out the following:

  • The company’s financial stability, including years in business. You can review the financials of publicly traded companies.
  • Number of samples processed at the facility. A larger number may ensure better collection and handling procedures.
  • Company policy on switching facilities, if you so choose.
  • Information about what happens to your banked blood if the company goes out of business.
  • A list of medical personnel who will facilitate the cord blood transfer to the bank.
  • Names and biographies of the bank’s board of medical consultants.
  • Fee information, including maintenance costs and whether the annual fees are fixed or can go up.
  • Accreditation. Ones to look for include FACT (Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). All cord blood banks must be registered with the FDA.

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Reviewed on September 10, 2013

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