Cord blood can only be collected at birth, that’s why it’s important to do your research well before your baby’s due date. Watch this short video to learn exactly how cord blood is collected, processed and stored.
The main purpose of a cord blood company is to store umbilical cord blood for families in case they need to access it for future use. Cord blood from a baby is stored because it has the potential to help treat blood or immune system diseases. There are both private and public cord blood companies, sometimes referred to as cord blood banks.
Top 9 Best Rated Cord Blood Banks
Americord offers parents the ability to save stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth. This blood banking service uses new technology to ensure that children can receive treatment for genetic diseases.
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ViaCord has been providing umbilical cord blood stem cell collections to families for over 20 years. The company has an 88% treatment success rate in treating patients with stem cell cord blood.
Cord Blood Registry is a cord blood storage company that collects, processes and stores stem cells to help families with medical needs later in life. Founded in 1992, it is the world's largest newborn stem cell company.
StemCyte has performed over 2,000 transplants across 300 countries around the world. The company offers both public and private banking and provides a LifeSaver Guarantee to protect consumer rights.
CorCell has almost 20 years of experience banking cord blood, cord tissue and DNA. The company is one of the first licensed private cord blood programs in the United States and has its own AABB-accredited laboratory.
New England Cord Blood Bank was founded in 1971 and is one of the pioneers in processing and cryopreservation of human cells and tissue. The company is continuing to expand its research and development center.
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M.A.Z.E. Cord Blood Laboratories is an FDA-approved and regulated storage facility that partners with Community Blood Services for processing. The company has processed over 30,000 units of cord blood since opening in 1997.
FamilyCord is a California-based Cryobank Company that has been providing stem cell services for 15 years. The company has expanded its operations in New York and is registered with the FDA.
AlphaCord has a 100% success rate of viable specimens upon thaw. It has been in business for over a decade and is FDA-approved. The company aims to provide a low-cost means of collecting and processing cord blood for customers.
What features matter most?
All cord blood banks in the US are required to register with Food and Drug Administration. To ensure safety, cord blood banks must comply with FDA regulations, including current good tissue practice regulations, donor screening and testing for infectious diseases, including HIV I & II (the virus that causes AIDS), Hepatitis B & C, which can cause liver disease, Cytomegalovirus (CMV) a virus that can lead to pneumonia, Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) 1 & 2, which can suppress the immune system, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Treponema pallidum (the bacterium that can cause syphilis) and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), a rare virus that can cause brain disease. Since 2011, the FDA has required public cord blood banks to obtain a license under a Biologics License Application.
Cord blood companies can receive several different accreditations, and many banks vary from one another based on the accreditation they've achieved.
- AABB accredited: Some cord blood companies have received extra accreditation from the AABB, or the American Association of Blood Banks, which means they meet a certain standard of service and accuracy of work.
- FACT accredited: Cord blood companies that are FACT accredited have been evaluated by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, and they're found to have met the foundation's standards of operation.
Shipping and delivery methods
Cord blood companies must acquire the blood from families, and there are several different ways by which cord blood can be collected, shipped and delivered.
- Priority shipping: Cord blood companies that use priority shipping services have families ship them cord blood in a heavily insulated box, which arrives at the cord bank at a certain time, but does not guarantee that the blood remains at a certain temperature.
- Medical shipping: Some cord blood companies use medical shipping companies to deliver cord blood; these companies guarantee that cord blood is kept a certain temperature and delivered to the facility by a certain time, typically within 24 hours of collection.
- Courier service: Courier services are used by certain cord blood companies to pick up the cord blood in person and deliver it immediately to its destination by hand.
While cord blood companies all store and use cord blood, many companies differ based on the amount of clinical experience the company has actually had.
- Experienced in releasing blood: Some cord blood companies have a lot of experience releasing cord blood to doctors and clinicians to be used in medical procedures.
- Primarily storage: Cord blood companies that have not had much clinical experience are often known for storing a lot of cord blood without regularly releasing it for use.
- Onsite lab: Some cord blood companies own and operate their own labs on site, giving them the ability to handle processing without having to outsource to other science and medical organizations.
Cord blood companies have to process the cord blood they receive from families, and there are several different ways that companies can do so.
- Automatic processing: Companies that use automatic processing use machines to extract the stems cells from cord blood, which is the fastest method of doing so.
- Manual processing: Cord blood companies that use manual processing remove stem cells by hand, which is a more precise way to process blood.
- Cord tissue processing: In addition to cord blood processing, some cord blood companies also process actual cord tissue, which can be used for different purposes than cord blood.
There is a range of costs associated with cord blood banking, and companies can be different from one another based on the fees they charge for services they provide.
- One-time enrollment fees: Some cord blood companies simply charge one-time enrollment fees for cord blood storage for a certain period of time.
- Annual storage fees: There are cord blood companies that charge annual storage fees to keep cord blood in a bank year after year.
- Enrollment and storage fees: Some cord blood companies require customers to put down a deposit to enroll and then play annual storage fees to keep blood.
Cord blood companies offer a range of payment options and plans to their customers.
- Upfront payments: Many cord blood companies require customers to pay their fees in total upfront before storage services begin.
- Payment plans: Some cord blood companies offer families payment plans, so they can pay for cord blood storage over time.
- Insurance assisted payments: Some cord blood companies work with insurance companies that can help parents pay for cord blood processing and storage, particularly if one child in the family has an illness and might be able to benefit from cord blood use.
What are different types of cord blood banks?
Public cord blood banks
Public cord blood companies are mostly nonprofit companies that are traded publicly, and doctors can utilize matching cord blood in these banks for treating their patients, even if the blood is not their own.
Private cord blood companies
Private cord blood companies are privately owned, and they collect, process and preserve cord blood for one family's future use.
Cord blood and tissue companies
Cord blood and umbilical tissue companies handle not only blood, but also process and store the tissue of the umbilical cord.
Cord and placenta blood companies
Some cord blood companies also specialize in storing and processing placenta blood, in addition to blood straight from the umbilical cord.
Who's it for?
Families with a history of diseases
Families with a history of diseases can store cord blood in a bank. These families can access it should a person get sick with an immune system or blood disease, like leukemia or sickle-cell anemia, later in life.
Families who are expecting a baby
Women who are expecting can arrange to donate cord blood to cord blood companies. Doctors recommend that mothers arrange for cord blood donation to happen right after birth.
Families with an ailing member
Families giving birth who have someone already ailing in their family may be able to use a new baby's cord blood, and thus will be able to take advantage of a cord blood company.
Minority families donating for strangers in need
Minorities often have a harder time finding a match when looking for blood and stem cell donations, and can use cord blood companies to be helpful to other minorities in need of a match.
Americord offers parents the ability to collect stem cells from the placenta and umbilical cord soon after the child's birth. These stem cells, obtained from cord blood, cord tissue and placenta tissue, can be used to help treat genetic diseases and other threats to the baby's life. Placenta tissue stem cells can also be used to benefit the mother.
- Personalized customer service: Americord provides 24-hour telephone support, meaning that you'll always have someone to reach out to.
- Lower prices: Americord offers a one-time payment plan or a 24-month plan to spread the cost of cord blood banking over two years to help individuals afford any treatment plans they need. There are no yearly storage fees.
- Proprietary technology: Americord's technology allows for up to two times as many stem cells compared to the traditional methods of cord blood extraction.
- Highest guarantee: Americord will pay up to $90,000 if your stem cell transplant fails to engraft. The company uses an AABB-accredited lab.
- Fast courier service: Cord blood extractions are delivered by the fastest medical courier in the United States.
- Best for Parents who carry genetic diseases, children born from complicated births and children who may need organ regenerative therapies.
New England Cord Blood Bank was founded in 1995 by Catherine and John Rizza. The parent company of New England Cord Blood Bank is the New England Cryogenic Center.
- Shipping options: Families using New England Cord Blood Bank have the choice to use medical FedEx delivery or medical courier, depending on what best suits their needs.
- Easy access: When families want to retrieve cord blood, the New England Cord Blood Bank will quickly and safely deliver the cord blood to the family.
- Automated processing: The company uses an automatic processing system to retrieve stem cells, and this process is one that is quick and also retrieves 98 percent of stem cells.
- Clinical experience with leading institutions: Many reputed hospitals have depended on the company for cord blood, including Duke University, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
- Refer-a-friend program: The New England Cord Blood Bank gives families $100 for each friend they refer to the company, so customers have further incentive to choose the company for storage and processing.
- Best for Families with a history of diseases, families who have just had a baby and families with an ailing member.
StemCyte is a cord blood company headquartered in Covina, CA. The company specializes in giving cord blood units to transplant patients.
- Best for Families with a history of diseases, families who have just had a baby, families with an ailing member and minority families.
CorCell is a cord blood company that was founded in 1995. The private cord blood company is currently headquartered in Las Vegas, NV.
- Best for Families with a history of diseases, families who have just had a baby and families with an ailing member.
ViaCord is a cord blood company that has been in operation for more than 20 years. The company is part of PerkinElmer, a worldwide environmental and biological health company.
MAZE is a cord blood company that has been in business since 2004. The organization's parent company, MAZE Laboratories, has been around since 1997.
The parent company of FamilyCord is California Cryobank Inc., which was founded in 1977. The company is run by Richard Jennings, who received an MBA from Harvard Business School.
AlphaCord is a cord blood company headquartered in Atlanta, GA. The company has been in operation since 2002, and it's known for handling both cord blood and tissue.
Cord Blood Registry is the world's largest cord blood company. Founded in 1992, the company is headquartered in San Bruno, CA, and has a lab in Tucson, AZ.
How it works
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.