Frequently asked questions about cord blood and cord tissue
What diseases can be treated with cord blood? Is it only used for blood related disorders?
Traditionally, hematological disorders (blood cancers), immune disorders, and bone marrow failure represent the most common diseases treated through transplantation. Regenerative Medicine treating a wide range of diseases represent the next generation of treatments. Many of these are in the clinical trial or research stages.
Who is able to use the sample if it is needed?
Should we bank our second/third etc. child’s cord blood?
How many times can a sample be used?
How long can stem cells be stored?
Banking of stem cells from cord blood began in 1994 with the foundation of the New York Blood Center Cord Blood Bank. These stem cells can be stored for a substantial amount of time although the maximum storage time has been a moving target over the years. In fact, most cord blood banks do not label the units with an expiration date, as this will likely change.
Cord blood stem cells are frozen and stored at a temperature less than -190◦C. A series of publications with samples stored at this temperature have been released addressing the subject of long-term cryogenic storage and its effects on stem cells from cord blood. The first was in 1992 where researchers showed that the number of stem cells and their potency (how well they function) were comparable after thawing with the number and potency before freezing in units stored for 5 years. The report was followed up in 1997 with similar results from units stored for 10 years.
In 2003, 15 year old cells were thawed. In this study, as in previous reports, the units were evaluated for recovery of the number of cells and their potency. The report showed that not only was the recovery of cells and potency highly efficient but also that the cells engrafted and repopulated the blood system in a way consistent with freshly isolated stem cells from cord blood. Further to this, in 2011 data from cord blood stored for 21-23.5 years was published. Again with the same result: stored cord blood stem cells behaved no different from fresh cord blood stem cells. The authors end the paper with “Thus, recovery of HSC, HPC [hematopoietic progenitor cells] and other early cells types bode well for CB banking and use.”
So in conclusion, the scientific literature has evidence that stem cells from cord blood can be stored frozen in liquid nitrogen for 21-23.5 years and still retain their potency. It is quite possible that the next publication will move the storage time even further.
How is cord blood and cord tissue collected?
The process of cord blood collection is painless and does not interfere with mother and baby bonding. Overall, the collection takes roughly 10 minutes to complete.
Following cord blood collection and when the placenta is expelled, the doctor will cut as much of the umbilical cord as possible and place it into the container supplied in the Cells for Life collection kit. The container will be sealed and placed in a medical biohazard bag and returned to Cells for Life for processing and storage.
What happens if we need the stems cells?
What if cord blood and cord tissue is not collected at my hospital?
Occasionally, there are hospitals that do not collect cord blood or cord tissue. We will do our best to overcome this. We will even offer to help the staff with the collection.
Do cord blood banks require accreditation?
No, but accreditation is the only guarantee a parent can have about the quality system and operating procedures at a cord blood bank. The standards recommended by AABB (formerly known as American Association of Blood Banks) have become the industry standard. Please note that membership in the AABB is not the same as accreditation by the AABB.
Bear in mind that the end user of cord blood, will be a transplant physician. That physician is unlikely to use a sample which is from a bank without accreditation, regardless of what reassurances the bank issues.
What is an Approved Use?
Can we collect cord blood and/or cord tissue if we are choosing to do delayed clamping?
What type of things should the parents or the donor child consider if they are deciding whether or not to continue storage?
What are the chances of using a cord blood sample?
Is it true there are other sources of MSCs?
Is private (family) banking very expensive?
Family banking in Canada costs, on average, $1,200 (plus taxes) for the first year and $153/year thereafter. However, many family banks offer financing or payment options which make it more affordable for parents.
Can everyone donate their cord blood to a public bank?
In Canada, the ability to bank publically also depends on the expectant parent’s physical location. For example, those delivering at hospitals not serviced by a public bank cannot donate.
Do transplant physicians prefer to use donated samples from a public bank over private banked samples?
In addition, GvHD is one of the most serious, painful and fatal side effects of transplant. Studies have shown that this is reduced significantly when using a family-related sample.
As well, sick patients do better if the transplant is completed early in their disease process and before the disease progresses too far. Family samples can be located and transported within days as opposed to the several weeks/months that it takes to access a public sample.*
Registration, Collection & Storage
Frequently asked questions about registering with Cells for Life, collecting and storing cord blood and cord tissue.
Is there a cost associated with retrieving our sample?
Can I open the biohazard bag?
What should I do if my collection kit was exposed to hot/cold temperatures?
Will Cells for Life contact the Labour and Delivery staff for us or are we responsible for informing them about our decision to collect cord blood and/or cord tissue?
Is cord blood collected before or after the delivery of the placenta?
If I have to reopen the kit and the box seal is broken, what should I do?
Please make a note on the cover page of the registration package letting us know you had to open the box.
Our sample was not collected. How should we dispose of our collection kit?
What if the cord blood and/or cord tissue label is missing from the kit?
This normally does not happen as our kits are inspected before being distributed but it could be misplaced at the hospital. If this does happen we need the following information from you:
- Mothers name and Date of Birth,
- Date of Collection
- Time of Collection
- Hospital Name
- Name of Collector
Please make a note in your kit letting us know that the cord blood and/or tissue label was missing.
Where do I get extra maternal tubes and what kind of tubes are required?
Tube size should be either 7mL or 10mL and we need three (3) full tubes. These are common blood tubes and can be found at most hospitals. Ask your nurse for the tubes. Just be sure that the birthing mother’s name is clearly printed on the side of each tube.
Get Info Pack
Take the first step to learn about cord blood and cord tissue banking today!