Cord blood is the unused blood left in the baby’s umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born. This blood is rich in stem cells, which can be collected, frozen and stored. Like bone marrow, stem cells from cord blood may be used later to treat your baby, other family members, or another person for a growing number of diseases, including cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, some forms of anemia, sickle cell disease and severe combined immune deficiency.
You should make a decision about cord blood donation at least four weeks before your due date. Speak with your health care provider, visit your local or hospital library, contact cord blood services or go online to learn more. Then decide if you would like to:
Bank the Cord Blood for Your Own Use With a Private Cord Blood Bank
To be able to use cord blood stem cells for a transplant, the stem cells must “match” the person who needs the treatment. Banking cord blood privately means that you will have a perfect “match” of stem cells for your child and a possibility of a suitable “match” for any of your other children or members of your family should they need it.
To privately bank your baby's cord blood, you must make arrangements with a cord blood bank before you come to the hospital to have your baby. There will be an initial processing fee and a storage fee that must be paid every year. The actual cost will vary by cord blood bank company.
Donate the Cord Blood to a Public Cord Blood Bank
If you do not wish to privately store your baby’s cord blood, you may choose to donate the blood to a public cord blood bank. Donated cord blood is listed on an international registry. The cord blood is not reserved for you or your family. If this cord blood is a “match” for a patient anywhere in the world, it may be used for that person. This is a simple way for you and your newborn to help save lives.
If you want to donate your baby's cord blood, you need to make arrangements with a cord blood bank before you come to the hospital to have your baby. The company will review your health history for health conditions that might prevent donation to a public cord blood bank. There is no charge for cord blood donation. For donation options>
Discard the Cord Blood, Umbilical Cord and Placenta
Following the birth of your baby, the cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta will be disposed of with other medical waste. If you opt not to donate or store the cord blood, this valuable resource will not be available to help people in the future.
If you choose not to store your baby’s cord blood privately, please consider a donation to a private company or public bank. You could help save a life someday.
When You Come to the Hospital
You will be asked if you are donating, banking cord blood privately or discarding the cord blood. If you had your blood work done before coming to the hospital, please let the nurses know.
Cord Blood Banks
Alpha Cord (private)
Community Blood Services (public donations)
Cord Blood Registry (private)
Cord Track (private)