You only get one chance to preserve your baby’s cord blood. That’s why it’s critical to select a high quality cord blood company. Here are key questions and answers:

Q. Why should I preserve my baby’s umbilical cord blood?
A: During pregnancy, the umbilical cord is the lifeline between mother and baby. Once the umbilical cord is discarded after your baby’s birth, you lose the chance to preserve these precious cells that are an exact match for your child. Preserve your baby’s “treasure” of stem cells with a guaranteed match so you will have life-saving protection against disease in the event that such a disease threatens your child or a sibling. When there is a history of any of the previously listed diseases in the family, having a perfect stem cell match is future protection for your baby. Preserving these cells is insurance, should any of these diseases develop over time, even though no history exists.

Q. Are there any risks to donating cord blood?
A: Donating cord blood is medically safe. Donating poses no health risks to you or your baby. Donating does not affect your baby or your birth experience because the cord blood is collected after your baby is born. If you or your baby experience any complications during delivery, your doctor may not collect the cord blood.

Q. How safe is this for my baby and me?
A: The first priority is the care and well being of the baby and mother. This procedure is very safe because the blood is collected after the cord has been separated from your baby.

Q. What diseases can be helped/cured through the transplantation of these cells?
A: Stem cells are used today in the treatment of leukemia, breast cancer, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, aplastic anemia, various other cancers, blood diseases, hereditary/genetic conditions and immune system disorders. There are approximately 1.4 million new cancer cases each year. As stem cell transplants become more routine they may be used to fight lung cancer, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, AIDS and many genetic diseases. See CORD BLOOD INFORMATION at www.cordbloodsolutions.com for a complete list of diseases already being treated with umbilical cord stem cells.

Q. Who has access to our cord blood?
A: Identifying information is only exchanged between CBS and its partnering blood bank facility. The identities of the cord blood donor and parents are kept confidential at the cord blood bank at all times and follow HIPPA confidentiality standards. Once your cord blood is processed and stored through CBS, it is reserved for your family only. Remember that donating cord blood to a public bank is different than storing the cord blood for your family’s private use. The privately stored cord blood is reserved for your family, while publicly donated cord blood goes into a public registry pool and may never be able to be retrieved specifically for your child.

Q: What happens to my child's cord blood if I decide to collect and store it?
A: After the baby's birth, the umbilical cord is clamped, breaking the link between the baby and the placenta. The small amount of blood remaining in the placenta and umbilical cord, typically three to five fluid ounces, is drained and taken to a cord blood bank where the unit is processed and samples are sent for tests. To be stored, the cord blood unit must meet these standards:

  • The unit must be large enough.
  • The maternal and family health history must meet eligibility guidelines.
  • Tests of the cord blood unit and the mother's blood sample must show no signs of infection or other possible problems.

If the unit meets these standards, it is frozen and stored in a liquid nitrogen freezer. The cord blood unit is Uniquely Identified in CBS’s registry and available for your child in the event of illness.

Q: I have been approached, or contacted, by a self-storage program about storing my child's cord blood. Should I store the cord or donate it?
A: Donating your child's cord blood or storing it for private use is a personal decision that only you can make. If you have a child with leukemia or other disease that may be treatable by transplant then the cord blood will be available at any time specifically for your child, only if you stored the blood privately.

Q: Does it hurt me or my baby? Will either of us feel it?
A: Neither you nor your baby will feel anything since this procedure is only done after the cord has been detached.

Q: Is the company accredited by The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)?
A: Make sure the cord blood banking company you are considering is fully accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) specifically for the processing of cord blood stem cells. The AABB is the only accreditation that ensures high standards of quality for the processing and storage of your baby’s cord blood.

Some banks are fee-paying members of the AABB, but that is not the same as being fully accredited. To be accredited, the cord blood banking company must have its laboratory and administrative procedures reviewed, inspected and validated regularly and their procedures must be compliant with the guidelines established by AABB for cord blood processing. Our lab is fully accredited by AABB as well as other accrediting agencies.

Q. How many and what tests are done on the blood?
A: The FDA requires eight tests to be performed on the mother’s blood and the cord blood. We conduct all eight tests and an additional three tests: one for bacterial contaminants to make sure that the product from the cord blood is sterile, and the other two are to determine the number and viability of stem cells in the cord blood.

Q: Do we get the results of any tests that are done? What type of follow up is there?
A: If there are any abnormal results you will be contacted directly by CBS. You will also be notified by CBA if and when the sample is successfully stored.

Q: If there is a history of a disease in the family, such as leukemia, would it be in the genes?
If so, would stem cell transplantation from the cord blood be an effective way to treat the disease?
A: Leukemia is not present at the beginning of life, but is developed by mutation or change in normal genes later in life. Stem cells in cord blood represent cells before any changes have occurred in their genes. In case of other types of cancers (.g. solid tumors), stem cells are not involved and can be used for transplantation.

Q: What is the difference between a stem cell transplant and a bone marrow transplant?
A: Until now, the most common way to transfer stem cells from one person to another has been through bone marrow transplantation, which is a complex and risky procedure. Cord blood transplantation eliminates many of the problems associated with bone marrow transplants should your child need such treatment sometime in the future. If your child’s own cord blood stem cells are available, you do not have to look for a suitable match, the painful bone marrow extraction procedure will not be necessary, and the transplant will not be rejected.

Q: How long can these cells be stored and still be usable?
A: Research suggests that these cells can last indefinitely. If you choose to save your baby’s cells, they will be uniquely labeled and will be released only to you or to your child after he or she turns 18 years old.

Q: At some point in the future, if my child or another family member needs these cells, can we claim them?
A: The cells are uniquely labeled; no one can access these cells except you or your child. Unlike donating these cells to a public bank, these cells are stored specifically for your child. If you store your cells in a public bank there is no guarantee that your cells will be available for your use.

Q: Can the baby’s stem cells be used for the second baby and vice versa? Or for a relative or friend?
A: Stem cells from a baby are a perfect match only for the baby or for an identical twin, though they may be a close match for a second baby (a 1:4 chance). A relative’s or friend’s cells have to match, or closely match, the baby’s type in order to be useful.

Q: How soon should I notify CBS about collecting my child's umbilical cord blood?
A: It is recommended that someone who is interested in collecting their child’s cord blood should contact the CBS by the 32nd week of pregnancy, or as soon as possible. Remember, you need a collection kit in order to collect and ship the sample. If you go into premature labor then there may not be enough time to receive these items prior to delivery.

Q: Why is there a need for women from all racial and ethnic groups to collect their baby's cord blood?
A: Because the tissue traits that are used to match a cord blood unit with a patient are inherited, a patient's most specific match will be cord blood directly from that child. American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black and African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and multiple-race patients face a greater challenge in finding a match from a person other than themselves.
National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) cord blood banks are working in local communities to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of NMDP cord blood listings. From 2001 to 2003, the likelihood of finding a matched cord blood unit has grown at least twofold for patients from all racial and ethnic groups. Still, some patients are unable to find a match because of the rarity of their tissue traits. Some tissue traits are more likely to be found among people of a particular racial or ethnic heritage. That is why collecting and storing your child’s cord blood privately is so important for your specific child.

Q: Are the doctors and nurses at my hospital familiar with the collection process?
A: After you register into the program with CBS, you should discuss this with your physician. CBS will request your healthcare provider and hospital contact information. CBS will then confirm that they understand the collection procedure. Additionally, enclosed within the Collection Kit are specific instructions for successful collection for your healthcare provider.

Q: After the baby has been delivered, and the procedure of collecting the cells has been completed, how do the cells get to the blood center?
A: After collection, you will call CBS’s 24-hour-service, and we will arrange for prompt pick up and delivery to the processing center within the allotted 48 hours, and begin the processing procedure.

Q: Why should we choose Cord Blood Solutions (CBS)?
A: Cord Blood Solutions, with its partnered laboratory, is an experienced organization devoted to collecting and storing umbilical cord blood. Our Lab is fully AABB accredited and has collected over one-million blood samples. It uses state-of-the-art technology under the guidance of an experienced Cryobiologist and team.