Find the Best Cord Blood Banks
Compare Reviews for Top Cord Blood Banks
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Offers cord blood, cord tissue and placental tissue storage starting at $3,499. Uses innovative procedures. Includes $110,000 insurance coverage. Simple process with no storage, withdrawal or cancellation fees.
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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.
MiracleCord’s exclusive direct medical courier service has a 12-hour delivery time from cord blood collection to processing at its lab. It offers affordable pricing and advertises a no-compromise approach to quality.
|Viacord||Read Author Review|
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||Read Author Review|
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.
|New England Cord Blood Bank||Read Author Review|
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.
Cord blood banking requirements
1) FDA regulations for cord blood companies
To ensure safety, all cord blood banks in the US must register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), obtain a license under a Biologics License Application, and comply with current regulations such as good tissue practice. All donors are vigorously screened and tested for infectious diseases — including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) 1 & 2, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Treponema pallidum and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).
2) Cord banking accreditations
Cord blood companies can receive several different accreditations and mandated requirements, and many banks vary based on their certification. Certification can depend on the state or even the country, but some examples include:
- AABB accredited: Some cord blood companies have received extra accreditation from the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), which means they meet a certain standard of safety, service and accuracy.
- 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.
- CLIA requirements: The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments are a federally mandated set of basic requirements for any lab that wants to perform human lab testing in the United States.
3) Shipping and delivery methods
Careful transportation is vital for cord blood banks. The cord blood needs a consistent temperature between 59° and 77° F, so proper packaging and prompt delivery are essential. Cord companies must also be privy to TSA requirements, as post-911 demands that all cord blood transported to and from registered "Known Shippers." With this in mind, cord blood companies offer several different ways by which cord blood can be collected, shipped and delivered.
- Priority shipping: Companies using priority shipping services can guarantee delivery at a specific time, but it cannot guarantee that the blood remains at a precise temperature. The immediate climate in the transport plane or truck may be too hot or cold, ruining the shipment.
- Medical shipping: Some cord blood banks use medical shipping companies to deliver cord blood. These companies guarantee that cord blood is kept a specific temperature and delivered to the facility by a particular time, typically within 24 hours of collection.
- Courier service: Courier services are used by some cord blood companies to pick up the cord blood in person and deliver it immediately to its destination by hand. Although this is optimal, higher prices may reflect this option.
4) Processing options
The main goal when processing cord blood is to separate as many stem cells as possible while trying to leave any red blood cells behind. This step is crucial, as red blood cells can actually hinder recovery and possibly complicate the procedure. Cord blood companies have several different methods for processing cord blood.
- 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 cord tissue (the umbilical cord itself). Healthcare providers use this tissue for different purposes than cord blood.
There are several factors when cord blood companies set their prices. However, the range of costs associated with cord banks is primarily based on the services they provide. Take a look at the possible fees associated with cord banking below, and don't forget to ask their financing department to break down your bill if you have any further questions.
- One-time enrollment fees: Some cord blood companies charge one-time enrollment fees for cord blood storage for a specified period.
- Annual storage fees: This is an annual storage fee 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, then pay annual storage fees.
6) Payment options
Cord blood storage may not be affordable for everyone, so companies offer a range of payment options and plans for their customers. When speaking to a representative of a cord blood company, make sure to discuss the payment options below.
- 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.
Types of cord blood banks
When searching for a cord blood bank, it helps to be familiar with the different types. For instance, your child may not need the cord blood, but there are other's that are in desperate need for a stem cell donation. In this case, you may want to investigate public cord blood companies. Before choosing a cord blood bank, investigate the types in our list.
Public cord blood banks
Public cord blood banks are mostly nonprofit centers that are traded publicly. 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 their customers' 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 should bank cord blood?
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, possibly saving her child's life or the life of another. Doctors recommend arranging for cord blood donation to happen immediately 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.
Cord blood banking FAQ
- Is cord blood banking covered by insurance?
- Health insurance companies do not typically cover the costs of cord blood banking. However, some will cover the cost of collection and storage when it’s deemed medically necessary. For example, families with a history of blood disorders may have coverage. Talk to your health insurance provider to find out if it will pay for part or all of the cost of cord blood banking.
- Is it worth banking cord blood?
- Cord blood can be an investment toward your family’s future health and can be used to save lives.
- It may act as a viable treatment for a close blood relative who has an illness, such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia or Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Scientists are continually studying more ways to treat more diseases with cord blood, including cerebral palsy and autism.
- When stored privately, your own cord blood is accessible for 25 to 30 years.
- How much does it cost for cord blood banking?
- Initial processing fees for collecting, testing and registering cord blood can cost between $500 and $2,500. Storage fees average $100 to $300 per year.
- What are the benefits of cord blood banking?
- There are several benefits to cord blood banking:
- Cord blood has a multitude of stem cells. These cells may be able to change into several types of blood cells that doctors use to treat serious illnesses.
- New leaps in medical science mean doctors can treat new illnesses with existing cord blood.
- Frozen cord blood lasts anywhere from 25 to 30 years, so if you privately store your cord blood, it can be accessed by you or a family member for decades.
- How long does cord blood banking last?
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says properly collected and stored cord blood can last “many years.” According to the New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program, the largest public cord blood bank in the world, a cord blood unit processed and stored in liquid nitrogen in 1993 was used in a stem cell transplant in 2017, over 23 years later.
- What is the difference between private and public cord blood banking?
- Private cord blood banks collect, process and preserve cord blood for one family’s future use. In contrast, public banks make cord blood donations available to anyone.
- Private cord blood banks: Store the donated blood for use by the donor and family members only. They typically charge a fee for processing and an annual storage fee.
- Public cord blood banks: Don’t charge for storage. They collect donated cord blood for use by anyone who matches and may need it. They may also use it for research.
- What is cord blood good for?
- Cord blood has blood-forming stem cells that can be used in the treatment of blood-related illness, including leukemias and lymphomas. It can potentially be helpful in the treatment of family members (if you privately bank) or a total stranger (if you donate to a public cord blood bank).
- Can you donate cord blood for free?
- Yes, you can donate cord blood to a public cord blood bank at no cost. Public cord blood banks pay for everything, which includes collecting, processing and storing cord blood units. Check first to see if the hospital where you are delivering collects cord blood for a public cord blood bank
- Is cord blood from baby or mother?
- Cord blood is the blood from the baby left in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth.
- What diseases does cord blood banking help?
- Medical experts use cord blood to treat nearly 80 diseases, including certain types of cancers, genetic diseases and blood disorders, such as:
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
- Gaucher disease
- Sickle cell anemia
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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.
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