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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



  • Why should I do cord blood banking?
  • What can you do with cord blood?
  • How is cord blood collected?
  • Why do they save the umbilical cord?
  • What is the umbilical cord blood used for?
  • Can a parent use a child’s cord blood?
  • Can you use cord blood for grandparents?
  • How long can cord blood be stored?
  • How much does it cost to save umbilical cord blood?
  • Is cord blood banking covered by insurance?
  • Is cord blood banking tax deductible?
  • Is cord blood eligible for FSA?
  • Can you donate your cord blood?
  • Is there a cost to donate cord blood?
  • How do I donate my baby’s cord blood?
  • What types of research is Cord For Life® involved in?
  • Can the required documents be sent by fax?
  • What are the reasons for different consents and health questions?
  • Does it cost me anything to have my newborn’s cord blood collected and stored?
  • Can newborn umbilical cord blood be collected any time day and night?
  • Can you have your newborn’s umbilical cord blood collected at any hospital or must you use certain hospitals?
  • What are the physical risks to cord blood banking?
  • Why is it difficult to find a stem cell unit when a transplant is needed?
  • What is umbilical cord blood an how is it used?
  • Are umbilical cord blood stem cells the same as embryonic stem cells?
  • What is the difference between a privately stored and publicly donated cord blood unit?
Why should I do cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking is a way to preserve valuable stem cells in your newborn’s umbilical cord, known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).

The blood from a newborn’s umbilical cord can be collected at birth and processed in a lab to extract the hematopoietic stem cells for potential future medical use.

Already approved by the FDA to treat over 80 diseases, the hematopoietic stem cells from your child’s umbilical cord blood can be cryogenically stored in a cord blood bank for at least 20 years, and possibly longer.

What can you do with cord blood?

Cord blood contains stem cells that can be used to treat leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and other liquid tumors.  In fact, the FDA has approved the use of cord blood as a treatment for over 80 diseases.

Your child’s cord blood can be collected, processed and cryogenically stored for the future so it will be there needed.  Cord blood can be preserved in a private cord blood bank for a family’s exclusive use or donated to a public bank for anyone to use. Cord For Life® offers you both options, so you can decide when you are ready which is best for you and your family.

How is cord blood collected?

Cord blood collection is simple and painless.  Before giving birth, you will need to get a collection kit sent to you by a cord blood bank.  You simply bring the cord blood collection kit with you to the hospital.

The kit comes with everything your OBGYN or midwife will need to collect your child’s cord blood.  After your baby is born, they will first clamp and cut the umbilical cord, then insert a needle into the umbilical cord to collect the blood in a special bag.

You simply call the cord blood bank, who will help you with packing the kit and  arranging to pick-up the Collection Kit at the hospital and transport it to the lab for processing.

Why do they save the umbilical cord?

Umbilical cord blood can potentially save someone’s life.  When your baby is born, the blood in their umbilical cord contains something unique.  Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC’s), the basic building blocks of life, are still in their umbilical cord.  These hematopoietic stem cells are only available immediately after your baby is born.

At this point, you have one chance to collect the blood from your child’s umbilical cord, from which these important stem cells can be extracted and saved for potential future medical uses.  Once saved in a cryogenic storage tank, these stem cells can be used to treat diseases that harm the blood and immune system, such as leukemia and certain cancers, sickle-cell anemia, and some metabolic disorders.

What is the umbilical cord blood used for?

Umbilical cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC’s).  The FDA has approved the use of HSC’s from cord blood in the treatment of over 80 diseases, including a wide range of cancers, blood, and immune disorders.

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be used in transplants, where a physician infuses the saved stem cells into a patient’s bloodstream.   Once in the bloodstream, the stem cells go to work healing and repairing damaged cells and tissue.

Can a parent use a child’s cord blood?

A parent can absolutely use their child’s cord blood for treatment as long as there is an HLA match between the two individuals. HLA (Human leukocyte Antigen) typing is used to match patients and donors.  HLA are proteins — or markers — found on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not.

Can you use cord blood for grandparents?

A newborn’s cord blood can be used by other family members, including siblings, parents, and grandparents.   The child’s blood type does not need to match the grandparent’s for the cord blood to be used.  Instead, as long as the recipient is a qualifying HLA match to the child, the cord blood is safe to use. The matching process is similar to that used in matching an organ or bone marrow transplant.

How long can cord blood be stored?

Cord blood has been stored for up to 25 years and possibly longer.  Since cord blood banking only began in the late 1980’s, there is no scientific data beyond this point to validate that cord blood can be viable for storage periods longer than this.

How much does it cost to save umbilical cord blood?

The cost of saving umbilical cord blood varies widely.  The most important thing is to choose a cord blood bank that will give you the best possible outcomes for your family at a cost that fits your budget.  At Cord For Life®, our fees first-year processing fee is $1,999, plus annual storage costs of $150.  We offer flexible payment plans and discounted pre-paid storage options.

Is cord blood banking covered by insurance?

Cord blood banking is not covered by most insurance plans. However, families with a history of leukemia or other FDA approved conditions and an immediate need for a stem cell transplant may be eligible for insurance to cover some portion of the cord blood banking expense.  It is best to check with your insurance company on what cord blood banking expenses are covered by your individual policy.

Is cord blood banking tax deductible?

Cord blood banking may be tax deductible under certain circumstances.  If your child or family member has a medical condition with an immediate need for an FDA approved treatment with cord blood, the cost of collection, processing, and storage may be tax deductible.  It is best to check with your tax accountant to be sure.

Is cord blood eligible for FSA?

Cord blood banking costs may be an eligible expense with your Medical FSA. Fees related to collection, processing, and storage of your child’s umbilical cord blood may be an eligible medical expense if they will be used for surgery of the child or family member in the near future (generally within one year).

Can you donate your cord blood?

Cord blood can be donated to a public bank to help save the life of someone in need.  In fact, according to Be The Match, 14% of transplant patients now receive cord blood that was generously donated to a public cord blood bankDonating cord blood to a public bank in the United States is free and your baby’s cord blood will be listed on Be The Match Registry®, where it’s available for anyone in need of a transplant.

If you are interested in donating your cord bloodCord For Life® can help walk you through the process.  We have been in the business of collecting, processing, and storing donated cord blood for public use since 1995.  Since we also offer private cord blood banking, you have the choice of either option right up until baby is born.

Is there a cost to donate cord blood?

There is no cost to the donor for public cord blood banking. Cord For Life® and all other public cord blood banks cover the costs of collecting, processing and storing cord blood units.  The only charges related to public cord blood banking are incurred by the patient when the stem cells are withdrawn for use.

For cord blood stem cells banked privately, there are costs for collection, processing and annual storage, but the stem cells are reserved for the family’s exclusive use.  We offer both public and private cord blood banking options at Cord For Life® and are happy to discuss both with you to help you decide what works best for you and your family.

How do I donate my baby’s cord blood?

Donating your child’s cord blood is simple.  First you have to meet the eligibility requirements mandated by the government for cord blood donations– these are available on our website.  Once you’ve met the government eligibility requirements, you can contact Cord For Life® to request a collection kit.  No blood is taken from your baby. It’s only taken from the umbilical cord itself after your baby is born.

Your labor and delivery will not be affected. And when you donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank there are no collection or storage costs. One thing to consider when choosing a cord blood bank is that Cord For Life® offers both public and private cord blood banking options.  This means you can wait to decide which is best for you right up until you delivery baby!

What types of research is Cord For Life® involved in?

Cord For Life® has a strict company policy on all the research we are involved in.  In cases where a unit is not eligible for an unrelated transplant or otherwise would be discarded, it may still be suitable for research purposes in pursuit of finding more uses of stem cells for health recovery.

We do not permit involvement in any research that is deemed controversial including cloning, embryonic, or non-health related research. Our purpose is to advance the field in areas focused on health recovery.

Can the required documents be sent by fax?

Not as this time. Regulations required that all signed documents be originals. We hope to be able to accept forms in electronic format in the near future.

What are the reasons for different consents and health questions?

Public donations are regulated by the FDA and AABB to ensure the quality and safety of every product. The health history information is part of this quality system and is designed to prevent collections that could cause harm to the mother, the child and/or the recipient.

In addition, The National Marrow Donor Program® registry is performing a clinical study on cord blood donation and transplantation, it is important that all participants are clearly informed prior to the collection of the study and how the collected data may be utilized.

The additional consents used for both private and public collections are to ensure the mother and her physician/midwife have a thorough understanding of the cord blood collection and testing process.

Does it cost me anything to have my newborn’s cord blood collected and stored?

There is no cost for a publicly donated cord blood collection. Fees do apply for private storage collections.

Can newborn umbilical cord blood be collected any time day and night?

Public donation collections must be processed and cryopreserved within 48 hours of the time of collection. Unfortunately, current commercial courier services are limited on weekends which prevent us from receiving the unit in the mandatory time-frame.

As a result, publicly donated units cannot be accepted after 3PM (EST) on Friday through 3PM (EST) on Sunday. Private storage units have no restrictions, and will be accepted 7-days a week.

Can you have your newborn’s umbilical cord blood collected at any hospital or must you use certain hospitals?

Cord For Life® is one of a very small number of cord blood banks that will accept collections from anywhere within the United States.

What are the physical risks to cord blood banking?

There are no physical risks to you or the baby during the collection of newborn cord blood.  It is collected from the umbilical cord after delivery when the cord has been clamped and cut.

Why is it difficult to find a stem cell unit when a transplant is needed?

The success of a stem cell transplant depends on finding a cord blood unit with a similar human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type.  Unlike the better known red cell blood typing (O-A-B-AB), doctors use HLA proteins — or markers — found on most cells in your body to determine a stem cell match. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which do not. Only identical twins will have identical stem cell type.

Because HLA types are based on your genetic code, persons of minority or mixed race need a donor with a similar ethnic background.  Unfortunately, because of a lack of donors, minorities often have a very difficult time finding a suitable unit in a public bank and often a matching unit cannot be found.

What is umbilical cord blood an how is it used?

A cord blood unit is the term used for the blood collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. Cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells known as “Stem Cells” that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and many other life-threatening diseases.

Cord blood is one of three sources of cells used in transplant; the other two are bone marrow and peripheral (circulating) blood (also called peripheral blood stem cell or PBSC transplants).

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

No, umbilical cord blood cells are not the same as embryonic stem cells.  Cord blood stem cells are collected from the baby’s umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born – not from an embryo.

The use of cord blood stem cells for transplant is a routine medical procedure. The first successful cord blood transplant was performed in 1988 using sibling cord cells for the treatment of Fanconi Anemia.

What is the difference between a privately stored and publicly donated cord blood unit?

Private storage cord blood stem cell units are collected, processed, cryopreserved and stored for use by the child (autologous) or a designated recipient (family member or other loved one).  These units are the property of the mother and child and cannot be used for an unrelated transplant.

Privately storing your baby’s stem cells should be a consideration in families with a history of hereditary diseases which can be treated with stem cells or if your child is a minority or mixed race. Because these units are not for public use, fees do apply. Click here for fee options.

Public donation cord blood stem cell units are collected, processed, cryopreserved, stored and listed on transplant registries which coordinate transplants for patients in need. These units are available to anyone looking for a stem cell “match” unit for transplant.


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