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Cord blood Collection - Some Basic Information

Inadequate knowledge about cord blood collection, processing and cord blood storage is pushing many new parents away from donating their babies’ cord blood cells. Hence, c...
Views: 939 Created 07/23/2007
Inadequate knowledge about cord blood collection, processing and cord blood storage is pushing many new parents away from donating their babies’ cord blood cells. Hence, comprehensive information on steps of collection, processing and storage of cord blood cells is required to educate them and help them release their fear of unknown risks, if any, involved in the methods. Cord blood collection methods, whether post or pre delivery do not expose the child or the mother to any risk and pain. With all the miraculous therapeutic benefits of cord blood cells, a once disposable umbilical cord is now worthy of being stored to retrieve the diverse life saving opportunities from it.

Types Of Blood Cord Collection Methods

Cord blood storage follows two prior steps:


First and foremost is the blood cell collection.  There are two methods. Both are considered equally safe. Collection methods vary according to the period of collection –

 Ex utero method implies involves placing the placenta in a sterile supporting structure, where the clamped and cut off umbilical cord is injected with a syringe to drain the blood cells in a bag.

 In utero (or before the placenta is delivered) method refers to the collection that takes place when the doctor or the midwife is waiting for placenta to be delivered or the period of 5 to 10 minutes before the delivery of placenta. In utero method involves the same procedure, except its time of collection.

Both women undergoing vaginal and cesarean deliveries can consider donating umbilical cord blood stem cells, as the methods are safe for both types of deliveries. However, if during the final stages of pregnancy, complications arise, the cord blood bank and the doctors may choose to abandon the plan for cord blood collection. Along with collecting cord blood cells from umbilical vein, mother’s blood gets also collected to detect some infectious diseases as per regulations. Around 40 to 150ml stem cells are drained from the umbilical cords to collect adequate cells for transplantation. The specialists try to collect as cord blood as possible. Incase the blood collected is not sufficient, the blood is still preserved for possible stem cell expansion or if the parents agree, for scientific research. After collection, the blood cells are then forwarded to the cord blood bank facility chosen by the parents. Blood bank centers then test and analyze blood to detect presence of infectious diseases or typecasting the tissues.

Processing Of Cord Blood Cells

After cord blood banking, samples are transferred to the labs within 36 to 48 hours of collection. Different opinions have suggested various ways of processing cord cells. Laboratories that are CLIA certified, at the same time, have registered with FDA test mothers’ blood for diseases like syphilis, hepatitis, HLTV, HIV, Malaria and CMV. The processing part, along with ensuring infectious disease status, ensures that blood cells are eligible to be used for transplanting on family members besides autologous use. A point to note here is that the mother usually has to undergo a special test during cord blood registry to ensure that she is eligible for the cord blood donation. The results are sent to the parents so that they can prepare themselves for treatment if required.

Preservation Of Cord Blood Cells

During processing, cord blood cells are depleted of red blood cells, while some processing methods keep the red blood cells. After processing of cells, comes the next procedure of cord blood preservation. When the unit containing cord blood cells is processed, a cyropreservant is added to it. This is added to make the unit survive the cryogenic process. As the unit drops its temperature to -90 degree Celsius, a liquid nitrogen tank is used for cord blood storage. The units of cord blood are preserved in special bags divided into two compartments. One is for immediate use (if required) and the other is for stem cell expansion.

The child’s parents or guardians are given the rights to unit for their transplanting use in future. Later, at the onset of legal age, the child possesses control over his or her cord blood cells. For those worried about privacy issues, the cord blood banks assure the donors for complete secrecy. At no stage will the donor’s identity be revealed to the recipient, especially if the latter is a stranger.

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