Cord blood industry statistics 2024

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bags of blood inside a laboratory fridge

Since the establishment of the first public cord blood bank in New York in 1992, a rising number of donors have given their child’s umbilical cord and placenta blood to banks in the growing multibillion-dollar cord blood industry.

This type of blood contains stem cells used to treat various life-threatening blood and immune diseases and cancers, and the value of cord blood has driven an industry of private banks that charge hundreds to thousands of dollars to collect and store blood.

Key insights

The U.S. cord blood banking industry was valued at more than $6.8 billion in 2022.

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The cord blood industry is dominated by private banks. Unlike public banks, which are free to donate to, private banks charge fees and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Estimates suggest there are nearly 5 million units of umbilical cord blood banked globally, including as many as 4 million units stored in private cord blood banks.

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Costs for private cord blood banking can run from $1,350 to $2,350 upfront, with annual fees of $100 to $175.

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General cord blood statistics

The cord blood industry relies on donations of infant umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placenta, which contain special stem cells that can in turn be preserved and later transplanted to treat certain serious diseases.

Families generally have two options with cord blood: donation or banking. Donation involves anonymously giving the blood away to an FDA-regulated public cord blood bank, which can use the blood to support patients in need. Donors to public banks typically must be tested for certain diseases and genetic disorders before their blood can be accepted. The blood will also be tested before it is matched to a person in need.

Private banking typically allows a family to pay to store the cord blood and reserve it for their own use should they ever need it, and there are fees for collection, testing and yearly storage.

Cord blood can be collected post-delivery by extracting it from the umbilical cord after it is cut and clamped. Health care providers may provide more information about cord blood banking during a prenatal visit.

How is cord blood used?

Cord blood is stored so that hematopoietic stem cells found in the blood can be transplanted. Donor cells and recipient cells are matched for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) differences to determine if a transplant can proceed.

Cord blood can be stored for upward of 21 years or longer, according to some experts.

Pros and cons of umbilical stem cell transplants

Pros

  • Easy collection
  • Risk-free to mother and newborn
  • Lower processing time compared to bone marrow stem cells
  • Less expensive than bone marrow stem cells
  • Less risk of infection transmission
  • Less need for exact HLA matching: more mismatch can be permitted due to stem cell immaturity (compared to bone marrow stem cells)
  • Lower rejection rate

Cons

  • Therapeutic effect takes longer, potentially increasing illness-related hospitalization costs
  • Limited total stem cell count per unit of cord blood
  • Small volume
  • May need administration of additional units
  • Autologous transplants (blood given to the same child who donated it) can have limited benefits with some inherited disorders
  • Storage inconsistencies between public and private banks

Source: National Library of Medicine

Some of the 80-plus different disorders hematopoietic stem cell transplants are used to treat include the following:

Market by type of cord blood banks

While estimates suggest that only about 1 in 6 units of cord blood are stored in public banks globally, private banks made up nearly the entire market (about 97% of $6.8 billion) in 2022 for the cord blood industry because of the fees associated with this type of banking.

Private cord blood banks can cost upward of $1,350 upfront and charge upward of $100 annually. From 2016 to 2021, projected costs for storing cord blood privately for 20 years averaged around $3,900.

One rising segment of the market is hybrid banks, which combine elements of public and private banks. In some cases, these banks allow privately stored cord blood to be used on other patients, allowing parents to consent to the release of the blood to another person. There is also a split model, wherein some units at a bank are privately held, while others are held for public use.

The market for hybrid banks has a projected compound annual growth rate of 12% between 2023 and 2030.

Between 2001 and 2022, there was an increase of more than 177% in registered bone marrow donors in the U.S. and a nearly 1,770% increase in registered cord blood units.

Still, adoption of banking remains low. Data from 2018 indicates that just 3% of parents in the U.S. opted to bank their cord blood, either through public or private banks.

But the service is growing in popularity. The market for cord blood banking is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12% from 2023 to 2030.

Cord blood industry by region

The largest market for cord blood banking globally is North America, where advancements in the medical applications of stem cells have increased people's awareness of and the popularity toward cord blood banking.

The North American market is projected to continue to grow because of a combination of expanded banking services, ongoing studies into stem cell treatments and government funding for research.

In the U.S., California is home to the largest cord blood market.

The next-largest markets are in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, which is the fastest-growing market due to expanding health care investments and the prevalence of autoimmune diseases treatable by stem cells.

Leading companies in the cord blood industry

Cord Blood Registry, the first private cord blood bank founded in the U.S. in 1992, is one of the largest in the world and has stored more than 1 million cord blood and cord tissue samples since its inception.

Other major private banks include Americord, ViaCord and Cryo-Cell.

Market future predictions

The market for U.S. cord blood banking services continues to see growth year over year. Projections for the industry estimate it will grow by nearly 12% compounded annually over the next decade.

Positive drivers of that growth include growing public awareness of the use of stem cells. The industry still remains in an early phase, with the first cord blood bank established roughly 30 years ago. Government funding and investments in health care are also expected to drive more cord blood banking, as use of stem cells to treat myriad diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia, becomes more common.

The growth of the industry faces some obstacles, however, including high costs for private banking and regulations for public banking that require various screenings and testing for donation.

Countries outside the U.S. also offer opportunities for the expansion of the industry, including growing markets in China and India.

FAQ

How big is the U.S. cord blood banking industry?

The size of the U.S. cord blood banking industry was over $6.8 billion in 2022.

How much does cord blood banking cost?

Donation to public cord blood banks is free, while costs for private cord blood banking can run from $1,350 to $2,350 for collection and processing, with recurring annual fees for storage of $100 to $175.

How much cord blood is being stored?

Estimates suggest there are as many as 4 million umbilical cord blood units stored globally in private cord blood banks, with another 800,000 units stored in public banks.

What is cord blood used for?

Stem cells in umbilical cord blood can be used to treat 80-plus different disorders, including cancers such as leukemia, blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and immune disorders such as Wiskott-Aldrich’s syndrome.


References

  1. ”U.S. Cord Blood Banking Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Bank Type, By Component (Cord Blood, Tissue, Placenta), By States (Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey), And Segment Forecasts, 2023 - 2030.” Grand View Research. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  2. “Cord Blood Banking.” Cleveland Clinic. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  3. Waller-Wise, R. “Umbilical Cord Blood Banking.” National Library of Medicine. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  4. Cairo, M., & Flower, A. “Newborn Umbilical Cord Blood Banking and Donation: AAP Policy Explained.” American American Academy of Pediatrics. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  5. “Cord Blood Banking.” University of Rochester Medical Center. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  6. Verter, F., & Couto, P. “Cord Blood Banking Affordability in the USA.” Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  7. “Donation and Transplantation Statistics.” Health Resources & Services Administration. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  8. Verter, F. “Percentage of births banking cord blood by country.” Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  9. “Cord Blood Banking Services Market.” Straits Research. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here
  10. “Family Bank: Cord Blood Registry.” Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood. Evaluated April 15, 2024.Link Here

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