Types of storage
Umbilical cord blood
Umbilical cord blood can either be removed for a generally available donation (anonymous donor) from an unrelated donor, for a blood relation of the child that is already ill (family-oriented donation), or for the own requirements of the child (own storage).
All the costs for own storage are to be assumed by the expectant parents. If required, the transplant produced is available for immediate use. However, it must be stressed that in the case of disorders of the blood and immunological system (e.g. leukaemia) in childhood, the use of unrelated stem cells is preferable. To date, stem cells from own storage have only been employed in rare cases, e.g. for the treatment of malignant tumours (e.g. retinoblastoma, neurblastoma). It should be underlined that if a malignant blood disorder occurs (e.g. leukaemia) unrelated stem cells are used for treatment.
Unrelated donations (URDs)
A URD is free of charge, as you provide it for the public good. Should a correlation with a seriously ill person be defined, the donation can be called up at any time via a transplant centre. In this case, patients around the world who need a stem cell transplant and are waiting for a suitable donor can profit. As far as a family-oriented donation is concerned, it is important to note that the donation is intended genuinely for a family member, who has been specifically named (e.g. brother or sister child) and cannot be used for any family member simply as required. Such a donation is only offered in special cases and is foreseen especially for a sick person.
Unrelated donations and stem cell preparations from own storage are already in use worldwide for the successful treatment of leukaemia and other serious disorders of the blood-forming system. They therefore represent a genuine alternative to bone marrow transplants.