Stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord shortly after the baby is born. They are separated from the cord blood, frozen and stored until they are needed. Cord blood banks or programs usually process and store cord blood.
The mother gives permission to have the baby’s cord blood collected.
After cord blood is collected, it is sent to a facility for testing and storage. Testing procedures can include:
The blood is mixed with a preservative, frozen and stored at a very low temperature for future use. Some cord blood banks or programs store the stem cells until the family needs them (private use). Other facilities store cord blood to be used in people who are unrelated (public use).
When it is needed for a stem cell transplant, the cord blood is thawed and infused into the recipient. The length of time that cord blood can be stored without losing its effectiveness is not fully known. Cord blood has been stored up to 5 years and successfully transplanted. The potential supply of cord blood is so great that cord blood banks could continually replenish old supplies with new ones.
Healthy parents (with healthy children) who are expecting another baby, or couples expecting their first child, can donate their child’s cord blood.
Some eligibility criteria may apply:
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