Umbilical cord blood can be used to treat more than 80 diseases, including blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Obstetricians, who so generously give of their time to collect cord blood, are essential in helping patients get the transplant they need.
From an overview of how cord blood is used in transplantation to collection best practices, this page provides information and resources to help you understand cord blood donation and guide the discussion with expectant parents about their cord blood options.
How We Help
We have 18 public cord blood banks in our network that work with hospitals across the United States to collect umbilical cord blood for donation and for listing on Be The Match Registry. We partner with these banks to help educate parents, provide education to medical professionals, and also to facilitate the cord blood transplants. Visit BeTheMatch.org to find a list of hospitals that collect cord blood for public donation, and the banks that work with these hospitals.
Cord Blood Use in Transplantation
Donated cord blood is being increasingly used as a source of hematopoietic stem cells in allogeneic transplantation. View cord blood transplant outcomes and trends data.
Physicians may consider umbilical cord blood for patients who need an unrelated donor and have an uncommon HLA type (making it difficult to identify a full match), or are in urgent need of a transplant. Umbilical cord blood transplants are used more often for pediatric patients, but cord blood use has grown in both adult and pediatric populations. Learn more about the expanding use of cord blood in transplant.
Cord Blood Banking
Expectant parents have many cord blood banking options including donating to a public cord blood bank, storing cord blood in a family cord blood bank or saving cord blood for a sibling who has a medical need. Several medical societies and agencies have issued statements on cord blood banking options:
- American Academy of Pediatrics official policy statement, Cord Blood Banking for Potential Future Transplantation
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion on Umbilical Cord Blood Banking and FAQs about cord blood donation
- American Medical Association ethical guidelines for physicians about umbilical cord blood
- American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation position statement and committee report on cord blood collection and preservation and a guide for parents
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cord Blood Information
Cord Blood Collection Best Practices
We offer a 13-minute educational video that reviews best practices for cord blood collection for public donation. View the Public Cord Blood Collection: Background and Technique video.
Resources for Expectant Parents
As you discuss cord blood donation with your patients, please feel free to use any of the resources we offer: