Cord blood FAQs for Physicians

What is my involvement in this procedure?

Patients who have registered for cord blood banking are asked to inform their physician and will be provided with a Cord Blood Collection Kit. The patient will bring the kit at the time of delivery. Please follow the instructions provided in the kit to collect the cord blood. All forms and shipping are arranged directly between the patient and Healthcord.

Is this procedure safe?

The Cord Blood Unit (CBU) is collected after the delivery of the child and after the umbilical cord is cut. The cord blood is extracted from the umbilical cord and placenta. This procedure poses no risk to the mother or child.

Is there any reason not to recommend this procedure?

There is no contraindication to cord blood banking. Any consideration whether to bank cord blood is financial rather than medical.

What are the advantages of cord blood stem cells?

The regenerative potential of stem cells is greater in cells obtained from earlier stages of differentiation. Umbilical cord blood stem cells are relatively accessible at birth, and have been demonstrated to be at an earlier stage of differentiation relative to adult stem cells derived from bone marrow or mobilized peripheral blood, while not being associated with the practical and ethical concerns of harvesting embryonic stem cells, particularly for autologous use. Furthermore, in comparison to bone marrow stem cells, umbilical cord blood stem cells have a faster rate of proliferation and are associated with a significantly reduced risk of tissue rejection and GvHD post-transplantation.

How long can cord blood be stored?

Studies have demonstrated that cryogenically frozen stem cells retain their viability following fifteen years of cryogenic storage. Extrapolation based upon a half-life model suggests that stem cells can be cryopreserved for the lifespan of a patient.

Who can the cord blood be used for?

Cord blood can be used for the child and also for siblings and other family members such as parents and grandparents where a close tissue type match exists.

Can any family bank their child’s cord blood?

Cord blood can be collected in almost all circumstances, including vaginal and C-section deliveries. However, CBUs are screened against a set of exclusion criteria, including cord blood sterility, volume, stem cell count, and maternal medical history. CBUs not meeting these exclusion criteria may be rejected. If a CBU is rejected, Healthcord does not charge the patient for the initial processing. These strict screening criteria ensure the highest quality of stem cells for storage.

What are the chances that my patient will need to use his or her banked cord blood?

Current estimates place the chance of usage of cord blood at between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000. However, with advances in stem cell applications in the treatment of more common diseases whose pathogenesis involves tissue damage or loss such as MI, CVA, or diabetes, the applications of cord blood stem cells will continue to increase.

What is the current demand for cord blood banking?

Private cord blood banking is an elective biomedical procedure. It is most often utilized as a form of biological insurance for families interested in maximizing care for their family. The existing demographics indicate that parents electing to store their child’s cord blood are typically working professionals, and middle to upper-middle class families in major metropolitan areas, who are already aware of and informed of the procedure and for whom the procedure would not represent a significant added expense. However, with increasing awareness within the medical community, paralleled with increasing education of many new parents, more families are becoming aware of or requesting this procedure directly, and the demand for this service is expected to markedly increase over the next five years.

How do I proceed?

If a patient is interested in finding out more about cord blood banking, provide the patient with a Healthcord Information Kit and ask the patient to contact Healthcord directly. Healthcord will make all necessary arrangements with the patient.

What is the educational honorarium?

Educational honorarium is a fee-for-service for the cord blood collection procedure.

Healthcord automatically sends an educational honorarium of $100 CAD to the delivering physician for each collection service performed. The payment for the collection service will be mailed on a monthly basis.