Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

page_cord_blood_bankingFamilies have several options when it comes to cord blood banking:

  1. Privately banking cord blood for the baby or family’s (blood relatives) potential use
  2. Privately banking both cord blood and placenta stem cells for the baby and/or family’s (blood relatives) potential use, which may increase the total number of stem cells banked
  3. Donating cord blood to a bank that may place it on a registry for a person in need of a cord blood stem cell transplant or for research
  4. Discarding the cord blood as medical waste

Privately banking cord blood

There is only one opportunity to preserve your baby’s cord blood stem cells immediately following your baby’s birth. The decision to preserve your baby’s cord blood stem cells should be made prior to the baby’s birth so that the doctor and hospital can be ready to collect the cord blood at that time.

By having your baby’s cord blood stem cells banked, you have an exact, genetically matched unit of cord blood stem cells that can be available for your baby should the need for those cord blood stem cells ever arise. Additionally, there is a chance that your baby’s cord blood stem cells may be beneficial to a family member (blood relative), perhaps a sibling, your spouse, or even yourself. Cord blood stem cell transplant recipients recover better when they receive cord blood stem cells from a related donor versus an unrelated donor.4 In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August, 1997 demonstrated that survival rates among 143 cord blood transplant patients, analyzed from October 1988 to December 1996, were more than twice as high using a related cord blood stem cell unit versus an unrelated cord blood stem cell unit from a donor registry.4

Privately Banking Cord Blood and Placenta Stem Cells

When it comes to cord blood stem cell transplants, there are two critically important factors that increase the probability of a successful outcome. The first is having a genetically matched cord blood stem cell unit (ideally an exact match). The second is having the most available cord blood stem cells possible for transplant.3,6-8

By banking placenta stem cells in addition to cord blood stem cells, you may have the ability to significantly increase the number of stem cells available for transplant, including a specific type of cell called the CD34+ cell. In numerous clinical studies, CD34+ cells have been shown to be the one factor that is consistently associated with positive outcomes in patients with various malignant and non-malignant disorders3,6-8. In a 2002 published study conducted by Wagner, et al., to assess effects of treatment factors on engraftment, graft-versus-host disease, treatment-related mortality, relapse and survival, the authors concluded that the survival rate among patients who received the highest dose of CD34+ cells was more than 3X higher than those patients receiving the lowest dose.3 The study evaluated 102 patients who received transplants between 1994 and 2001 for the treatment of various malignant and nonmalignant disorders.