What is a Cord Blood Bank?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat certain diseases.
Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat certain diseases.

A cord blood bank is a facility where blood from umbilical cords is stored so that it can be accessed at a later date in order to treat certain kinds of diseases. There are both private and public cord blood banks. Private banks store cord blood for future use by donors or their families, but public banks accept donations that can be accessed as needed by the medical community for other patients. Families who are interested in preserving their children's cord blood must make arrangements with a cord blood bank prior to the births of their children. These arrangements can be made as late as the third trimester of a mother's pregnancy.

The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.

If a family makes a donation to a cord blood bank, they may be able to access their own donation at a later date. In some cases, a cord blood bank will decide not to keep a donation. For families who want assurance that they will be able to access their child's cord blood at a later date, it is necessary to work with a private cord blood bank.

A private cord blood bank can be rather costly. These facilities can charge thousands of dollars to store a donation, and sometimes also charge annual fees to keep the cord blood. These annual fees may be fixed or they may increase over time, depending on the policy of the cord blood bank. There may also be fees assessed if the family decides to discontinue the storage services of a private cord blood bank.

An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.
An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.

There are some people in the medical community who criticize the process of harvesting and storing cord blood. Some claim that the marketing materials disseminated by these banks overstate the potential benefits of storing cord blood. Others say that the amount of cord blood that is harvested and stored may be insufficient if it is needed later on. There are also a number of legal and ethical issues that have been raised about the practice of cord blood banking. As this is a relatively new innovation in medical science, a number of these issues are still being investigated and researched.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for , Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for , Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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    • Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat certain diseases.
      By: JPC-PROD
      Cord blood stem cells can be used to treat certain diseases.
    • The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
      By: hansenn
      The blood from the umbilical cord of a newborn has valuable stem cells.
    • An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.
      By: massimo maghenzani
      An umbilical cord is a thick, blood-rich cord that connects a baby to its mother during the gestation process.