Cord blood banking: Considerations for private storage


Before choosing a private family bank to store your child’s cord blood, do your homework by getting answers to these questions:

• Will you actively contact the labor and delivery staff for me — or am I responsible for keeping the labor and delivery staff informed and coordinated?

• Do you include the cost of shipping in the contract?

• Ask the hospital where you will deliver if they have an exclusive contract to only collect for certain public family banks?

• If you provide shipping, do you offer bedside pickup? Otherwise, parents must designate someone to carry the cord blood to the shipping company.

• If you use a courier, do you provide secure chain-of-custody handling? "Secure chain-of-custody" means that a human being is physically responsible for the safety of the cord blood at all times. This is a stronger statement than claiming to know where it is on the basis of a computerized tracking system.

• Will you notify parents of the time at which the cord blood arrived, and the time at which it was processed?

• Will you notify parents of the test results, especially the final cell count?

• Some states license cord blood banks (California, New Jersey and New York), while others (Maryland and Illinois) have state accreditation: Do you operate in those states?

• How many small testing portions do you store with the blood? The testing portions can be removed, thawed, and tested if the blood is being considered for transplant.

• How long have you been in business? Make sure they have longevity. Find out what would happen to your frozen cord blood if they would go out of business.

• What are your cell recovery rates? A private bank should publish their own data. You want a bank to try to get as many stem cells frozen as possible from your cord blood.

• Where is your lab located and how do you ensure stem cells will be safe?

• Do you have proof of accreditation with the AABB — formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks? They should be able to show proof of accreditation. Please note that being a "member" of the AABB is not the same as undergoing inspection and being "accredited."

• If the cord blood collection is small or contaminated, do you offer parents any refunds?

• Is your storage fee guaranteed fixed?

Source: Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation and Cord Blood Registry

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