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We recently blogged about the potential of umbilical cord blood banking – touching on the exciting changes that have occurred over the last 25 years, and what we can look forward to in years to come.


What’s even more fascinating is tracking these trends from a worldwide scope, and narrowing in on where Canada stands in comparison. Public and private cord blood banks now exist in most developed countries, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, USA, and many European countries.

Let’s take a closer look at interesting cord blood trends happening worldwide.


Cord blood banking was initiated in the United States, but has been rapidly adopted all over the world. The USA is a leader in the use of related (family) and unrelated (public) transplants, with a total of over 400,000 samples stored in both family and public banks across the USA.

Interesting fact(s):In response to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations that all parents must be informed about public and private cord blood options, more than 20 different states have laws in place that promote awareness of the potential benefits of cord blood banking. Laws require a health professional to provide information about family and public cord blood banking options prior to a pregnant woman’s third trimester.


Japan has two family banks and a network of 11 public cord blood banks that supply over 50 percent of all required transplant samples for Japan’s sick.

Interesting fact(s): Almost 90 percent of all pediatric transplants and over 50 percent of all adult transplants in Japan use cord blood stem cells.

China has four family banks and one public bank functioning at this time.
Interesting fact(s): China is a leader in spinal cord research using cord blood and bone marrow stem cells.

Seoul Cord Blood Bank in Korea is one of the largest umbilical cord blood banks, operating a public and a private family bank.

Interesting fact(s): To date, Seoul Cord Blood Bank has provided more than 70 percent of the cord blood transplantation units within Korea.


The largest family stem cell bank in Europe, Cyro-Save Group, opened its doors in Niel, Belgium in 2009.

Interesting fact(s): The bank stores more than 250,000 samples from umbilical cord blood and cord tissue.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service Cord Blood Bank (NHS-CBB) was set up in 1996 to collect, process, store and supply cord blood. The NHS-CBB is public, and it is free to donate cord blood.

Interesting fact(s): As of 2009, the UK national cord blood bank was holding around 11,000 samples. In 2007 alone, the UK national blood bank collected more than 2,400 samples, a collection rate of around 0.13% of total births in the year (Cord blood banking in the UK, Technolopis, 2009).


There are currently nine family cord blood banks in Canada. Of these banks, more than half are AABB-accredited, and only two are FACT accredited.

Interesting fact(s):

    • In 2007, Canada was the 8th highest user of cord blood transplants in the world. Approximately 47 percent of all Canadian unrelated pediatric stem cell transplants were performed with cord blood.
    • In 2007, Canada was one of the lowest suppliers of cord blood worldwide. Canada’s first national public cord blood bank opened its doors on September 30th, 2013, at the Ottawa Hospital. “At any given time, there are almost 1,000 Canadian patients looking for an unrelated stem cell match to survive,” reads a recent press release by Canadian Blood Services.
    • There are three other public cord blood banks in Canada: Hema-Quebec, the Albert Cord Blood Bank and the Victoria Angel Registry of Hope in Toronto.
    • In 2007, the number of Canadian transplants rose by 63 percent and most samples were obtained internationally at a cost of over $2 million (2007).
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