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Why is umbilical cord blood valuable?

Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that can be used to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma and inherited metabolic and hematopoetic diseases.


What is an umbilical cord blood unit?

A cord blood unit is the term used for the blood collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born.


How is cord blood used?

Cord blood is one of three sources of stem cells used for transplantations; the other two are bone marrow and peripheral, circulating blood, also called peripheral blood stem cell- or PBSC transplant.



What is the difference between private cord blood banking and public cord blood banking?

Private cord blood banking is storing the baby's cord blood for his/her own future use or use for a family member, should the need arise. Alternatively, public cord blood banking, or donating, means that the baby's cord blood is stored in a cord blood bank and is available to anyone in need of a transplant worldwide.



Are umbilical cord blood cells the same as embryonic stem cells?

No, umbilical cord blood cells are taken from the baby's umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born, and not from an embryo. In contrast to embryonic stem cells, cord blood stem cells can be clinically applied and have proven to be effective and safe for patients. Embryonic stem cells have not yet found their way from the laboratory to clinical application.


When is cord blood used instead of bone marrow derived stem cells?

When a patient needs a transplant due to a life-threatening disease, the treatment center needs to consider many factors.


Cord blood is especially useful for:

Patients who need a transplant quickly, because cord blood units are stored and ready to use.

Patients who cannot find a matched bone marrow donor. Cord blood does not have to match a patient's tissue type as closely as donated bone marrow.

Patients from racially or ethnically diverse communities who often have uncommon tissue types. Because cord blood does not have to match the patient as closely as bone marrow, it may offer more people from diverse racial and ethnic communities the only chance for survival.


Should I store my baby's cord blood in a private family bank or donate it for public use?


Donating cord blood for public use or storing it for your family's private use is a very personal decision. For detailed information please ask for our info brochure.


How long will umbilical cord blood be stored?


If you donate cord blood to Vivocell´s public banking program, it will be stored until it is released to treat someone in need.

If you reserve cord blood for your own baby, it will be stored as long as you retain the services of Vivocell.

In general, cord blood can only be stored if it meets the standards for transplantation. These are:

  1. The cord blood unit must be large enough and contain enough blood-forming cells for a transplant. If there are too few cells, it may be discarded.
  2. The cord blood unit and the mother's blood sample must be free of any infection or other medical concerns.
  3. Approximately 30% of collected cord blood units cannot be stored; the most common reason being, that the cord blood unit does not contain enough blood-forming cells.

If someone in my family needed a transplant, when would privately banked cord blood be used and when unrelated cord blood donated to a public bank or bone marrow?


This decision needs to be made by the treatment center and doctors, considering a number of factors.

For some diseases, a transplant using cells donated from a relative, especially a sibling, is the best choice. The doctor would first test to see if the sibling matches the brother or sister who needs the transplant. Because tissue types are inherited from parents, there is a 25% chance that siblings will match each other. If the siblings match, the doctor will decide between the cord blood stored in the private bank or a bone marrow donation from the sibling; each has advantages and disadvantages.

If your child's cord blood, stored in the private bank is the best choice, the doctor would check to be sure that the cord blood unit is large enough (has enough blood-forming cells) and is free of disease and infection. If these standards are not met, then the doctor will consider the other options above.


Where can cord blood be donated?


Check our list of participating hospitals to see if your hospital collects cord blood for public donation.


Can I donate if my hospital is not on the list?


Vivocell Biosolutions can only accept donations from hospitals in Austria and Germany listed in our cooperation list.


What does it cost to donate cord blood?


A cord blood donation does not cost you anything if you donate to the Vivocell public cord blood bank program. Vivocell covers the cost of collecting, processing and storing cord blood units.


Will donating my baby's umbilical cord blood change my delivery experience?


Donating cord blood will not change your labor or delivery at all. During delivery, the focus is certainly on you and your baby. Cord blood is collected after the baby is born and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. It does not affect the baby or the birth experience. No blood is taken from your baby, only from the cord and placenta after the baby is born and the baby is no longer connected to the placenta and remaining umbilical cord.Cord blood collection should not be performed in complicated deliveries. Cord blood stem cell-collection should not alter routine practice for the timing of umbilical cord clamping.


Can I donate if I'm having twins?


We cannot accept donations for the Vivocell public bank if you are having twins. However, private banking is possible.


How is my privacy protected after I have donated to the public cord blood bank?

Vivocell cord blood bank keeps the mother's name confidential and protects the privacy of the family. Names are not shared with any patient or transplant center. The baby's cord blood is identified by a number, never by name.


Are cord blood transplant patients ever given information about their donor?


No. Identifying information is never exchanged between a cord blood donor and a cord blood transplant recipient.


What will happen to my child's cord blood if I donate it?

Once a baby's cord blood is collected, it is HLA-typed, screened for infectious diseases and for hereditary hematologic diseases. If the volume is large enough and meets all required standards, it will be cryogenically stored for potential transplantation or quality improvement and research.


If it turns out that my child might need the cord blood, can I retrieve his/her cord blood from the bank I donated to?

Cord blood banked in the Vivocell public program might not be available for future private use. At the given time, the cord blood unit may have already been released for treatment of another person or not been stored at all, because it did not meet the requirements for transplantation at the time of collection.