Many parents looking to bank their child’s cord blood stem cells with Cells for Life want to know whether the units will still be viable by the time their child is grown.

The maximum storage time for cord blood stem cells is a moving target. In fact, most cord blood banks do not label the units with an expiration date, as the number is likely to change.

Since cord blood banking has only been in existence for 25 years, no scientific data is available to prove cord blood stem cells can be stored for longer than that.

However, scientists have reported that cryogenically preserved cells have no expiration date, and frozen cord blood possibly can be stored indefinitely. This is supported by two key facts:

  • Cord blood stem cells are stored at or below -190 degrees Celsius, where biological activity ceases.
  • Other cell types and sperm have been stored for 50+ years and have remained viable when thawed.

20-Plus Years of Storing Cord Blood

The first cord blood transplant was performed in Paris on October 6, 1988. Since that time, over 1 million cord blood units have been collected and stored in public and family banks all over the world.

Banking of stem cells from cord blood began in 1994 with the foundation of the New York Blood Centre Cord Blood Bank. The field of umbilical cord blood storage has matured considerably over the last two decades. We continue to learn more about the long-term effects of cryo-preservation on the cells, which has resulted in increased storage times.

The longest study to date, published in 2011 by Broxmeyer at al found that stem cells cyro-preserved for 22.5 years engrafted as expected. There was no significant loss of stem cell recovery or proliferation.

Banking Cord Blood with Cells for Life

At Cells for Life, we’re constantly working to optimize cord blood stem cell processing, freezing and storage methods.

We use highly sophisticated equipment that has been carefully evaluated and selected to provide high quality results.

Cells for Life’s biorepository has the capacity for more than 125,000 cord blood samples. The samples are stored at -190 degrees C in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen.

For more information on cord blood banking, refer to our calendar for our next free information session near you or attend one of our regularly scheduled webinars from the comfort of your home.

9 Responses to “How Long Can Cord Blood Stem Cells Be Stored?”

  1. Lesley

    Are you recommending that cord blood should be stored indefinitely? I am wondering as our children get older, does continued storage make sense. And for how long? Until they’re 20? 25? 30?…. ?

    • Cells for Life

      Yes, Cells for Life recommends storing this indefinitely as cord blood can be used not only on children but adults as well.

      Currently the longest sample that has been in storage is 23 years, but our scientific director Dr. Elisabeth Semple feels that it can be stored indefinitely.

  2. Michael T Youngblood

    Could the stem cells be used at a later date to cure cancer in the donor ?

  3. Dr. Gabriel Chu

    I am currently 38 years old and I would like to have my blood and it’s stem cells harvested via peripheral blood draw to be stored in definitely. Do you offer this service? If so, how can I arrange for my family?

    • Cells for Life

      Thank you for reaching out to us. One of our customer service representative will reach out to you privately and follow up with more information. Best regards.


    can we use second pregnency Card Stem Cells or tissues to First pregnency baby. please clear it.

  5. Dr. David Greene

    20 Plus years is a satisfactional time and individuals must consider stem cell banking at the birth of baby, this is the most important thing you are keeping for children.


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