Cord blood is the blood remaining in both the placenta and umbilical cord after giving birth. Unlike the 'regular' blood circulating in our bodies, it contains stem cells (including blood-forming hematopoietic cells), making it useful in treating genetic disorders and other illness in which stem cell transplants are used.
Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and subsequently storing cord blood after a birth so that it can be available for treatments should it be needed.
The cord blood is collected immediately after delivery then taken for processing, at which time the stem cells are separated from the rest of the blood, then cryogenically frozen using liquid nitrogen to preserve and maintain the viability of the stem cells collected. This is a very low-risk procedure that basically involves clamping and collecting what would otherwise be medical waste.
Many that choose to utilize cord banking services have a family history of medical conditions that can already be treated with stem cell therapies (which would otherwise require bone marrow transplants). Having the needed cells 'banked' as a precaution - either for the child from whose birth it was collected, or for other family members sharing similar genetics; can eliminate the need for a donor should unfortunate circumstances arrive.
Some may have no pre-existing disposition to a particular disease as reason to store cord blood, but choose to do it nonetheless as a precaution against illnesses for which it is (or may become) a viable treatment as stem cell research continues to advance.
Others may elect to donate their cord blood to a public banking facility, in which case it may be used either for research or for other medical treatments at a later time. Stem cell research is constantly evolving, and researchers continue to find new uses for cord blood each year.
This site was created for those trying to decide whether or not to store cord blood from their pregnancy when the time comes. Use the navigation to the left for specific information, or continue using the links below.