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Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Ever since the concept of  cord blood stem cell therapy appears, it has been packaged by the cord blood banking business industry as "the way" to treat a variety of of serious diseases. Therefore,  many parents are willing to pay to save their child's cord blood as an additional health coverage for their newborn.  However, a well-known stem cells scientist questioned the efficacy of cord blood and stated that it may have been exaggerated. He urged parents to think seriously before making a decision to save cord blood to avoid a waste of money.

Agence France-Presse reported that Irving Weissman, the director of   California Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute of Stanford University, had stated, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, that cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells. It is  just enough to maintain the blood of a young child. Cord blood hematopoietic stem cells  can also derive stromal cells (Mesenchymal cells), its ability is limited to  create scars, bone, and adipose tissue, but not to the extend of producing brain, blood, heart and skeletal muscle (skeletal muscle), as some had stated. Weissman also criticized that some cord blood banks charge a lot of money for umbilical cord blood storage, claiming that cord blood stem cells can be used to treat serious illness; without mentioning the fact that medical expenses can be costly when it comes to stem cell transplant and treatment, which may not be something every family can afford. In addition, some countries have public cord blood bank. Cord blood is collected through donation. Cord blood is available to the public to those in need. Therefore, the cost- effectiveness of saving cord blood is  something parents should consider. U.S. National Institutes of Health had estimated the need for a newborn to use his/her own cord blood is 1 to 20,000.

Cord blood not enough to treat leukemia during adulthood.

Other research data have shown that leukemia patients that were successfully treated with cord blood transplant were  mostly children under the weight of 40 kilograms.  This is due to the fact that hematopoietic stem cells contained in cord blood are just enough to treat a child. Therefore, if someone is diagnosed in adulthood,  save cord blood is usually not enough.


What is cord tissue banking?

What is cord tissue banking? or Umbilical cord banking?

We all know that cord blood,  which contains umbilical cord blood stem cells are pure and  have renewable and healing power.  Many parents have considered storing their babies' cord blood in the cord blood bank for future use.  However, the umbilical cord (or cord tissue) itself also contains a huge number of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), even more than cord blood.  Cord tissue banking becomes another option for parents and will very likely become the next trend.

Mesenchymal stem cells has high regeneration power in tissue and organs, and its ability to differentiate in hard bones, cartilage, muscle, cardiac muscle, fat, and liver cells has been confirmed. It is mainly used in treatment of chronic diseases and promote the regeneration of the nervous system, tissue and organ repair.  The ratio of mesenchymal stem cells in Cord Blood, Bone Marrow and Cord Tissue is 1 : 2 : 6000.

Studies have shown that MSC can differentiate into cardiomyocytes or cardiac protection to avoid myocardial infarction remodeling.  Several clinical trials have shown that myocardial infarction size after MSC treatment has  significantly reduced and infarct zone wall motion has significantly increased its capacity. It has proved to be effective and safe  in MSC for myocardial tissue reconstruction for myocardial infarction, heart failure and other cardiovascular disease.

In addition, because the tissue antigen is not obvious, mesenchymal stem cells after transplantation are adjustable-to- host reaction (Graft Versus Host Disease).  It reduces exclusion and rejection; it greatly increases  the pace of rehabilitation after transplantation.  It is best to store both mesenchymal stem cells and hematopoietic stem cells for both too be transplanted together.

Benefits of Umbilical cord banking:

  1. Reduce the chances of cord blood transplant rejection
  2. Have immunomodulatory effects
  3. Have the capacity of repair and regenerate organ and tissue  (especially with heart tissues)
  4. Secondary treatment of chronic diseases
  5. The large scale expansion in vitro
  6. Genetic stability

As far as I know, only Cord Blood Registry CBR is currently providing this service of storing the umbilical cord.  You will only have to pay ~$800 more and and CBR will  store the  umbilical cord tissue for you in additional to the cord blood storage.

You can find more details from the CBR website below:


Complete List of Cord Blood Banks in US

The Complete List of Cord Blood Banks in U.S. with Review and Pricing information:

(Last updated:  Feb, 2011)

Alpha Cord Inc.

  • Website:
  • Phone: 866-396-7283
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Review: It founded in 2002 and the price various depends on which location you choose. For example: Calfornia Stem Cell Bank costs $1250 for collection and $2180 for 20 years storage. They also offer a "Refer a friend Promotion" which give you a free year of storage if you refer them to your friends and family.

Americord Registry LLC



  • Website:
  • Pricing:
  • Phone: 888-882-2673
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Review: One-Time Collection and Processing Fee: $2,075. Storage cost is $125 per year. They also offer a "Refer a friend Promotion" which give you a free year of storage if you refer them to your friends and family.


  • Website:
  • Pricing:
  • Phone: 888-273-7770
  • Location: Monterey, CA
  • Review: Some websites mention CordBancUSA is no longer accepting new clients (Please contact them directly for more information) $1,395 for the first year storage including the collection service. Storage cost is $2645 prepay for 18 years.

Cord Blood America, Inc.

Cord Blood Registry

Cord Blood Solutions

Community Blood Services

  • Website:
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Phone: 866-SAVCORD
  • Location: Allendale, NJ
  • Review: Their Cord Blood banking service runs under the Elie Katz Umbilical Cord Blood Program. No pricing information is found on their website.

Cryobanks International / Lifeforce Cryobanks

Cryo-Cell International



HemaStem Therapeutics

GeneCell International

LifeLine Cryogenics

LifeSource Cryobank, LLC

  • Website:
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Phone: 866-400-7333 or 985-867-8902
  • Location: Covington, LA
  • Review: No Pricing information found from their website.

MAZE Cord Blood Laboratories

  • Website:
  • Pricing:
  • Phone: 877-629-3522
  • Location: Westchester, NY
  • Review: This is the only cord blood bank offers "Cord Blood Banking with No Storage Fees" I found so far. One-Time Collection, Processing Fee and 20 years of storage for $2,010. This is the cheapest compare to another cord blood bank!


New England Cord Blood Bank


Securacell, Inc.


Stork Medical

The Genesis Bank, LLC

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (RMI)

  • Website:
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Phone: 877-844-7379
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Review: No Pricing information found from their website.

Utah Cord Bank


Xytex Cryo International Cord Blood Bank


When considering saving cord blood for your child…

When considering saving cord blood for your child...

Many professionals and scholars believe that cord blood stem cells can very likely be reproduced by technology based on the current speed of scientific development. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the weight of person receiving cord blood stem cells transplant.  In addition, cord blood stem cells can also be used in the future in tissue regeneration or on organ regeneration. However, if cord blood will be available through publicly-funded cord blood bank,  why spend money saving your child's own cord blood?  Moreover, besides cord blood, bone marrow also contains  hematopoietic stem cells. Once the technology of reproducing cord blood stem cells is developed and becomes matures, it may be more cost effective to reproduce stem cells than to store stem cells.

The treatment of cord blood transplantation is currently not covered by most insurance programs. The millions of dollars of medical expenses is not something that  the general public can afford.  To this end, the preservation of cord blood and cord blood transplant are sometimes being criticized as "health for The Rich."

Cord blood has many  medical functions, but scientists are also working to develop other therapeutic use of cord blood, but parents who want to store their child's cord blood  must pay out of their own pocket to do so.

The biggest advantage of saving cord blood is that parents do not need to worry about compatibility issues, because a person's body should not reject his/her own cord blood stem cells. However, the chances of using the  saved cord blood as medical treatment could be  small. Therefore, before making a decision, parents should understand thoroughly what umbilical cord blood is, its use, the benefits of saving it for future use, and the procedure of collecting and storing cord blood at the cord blood bank and accessibility, and decide if this is something worth to do for your child.


Cord Blood Collection Process

Cord Blood Collection Process

Cord blood collection process  is simple, easy and painless.   After the birth of the baby, cut off the umbilical cord and collect the blood in the umbilical cord vein with a FDA-approved collection bag, the whole process takes about 2 to 4 minutes and will not get in contact with the mother and the baby's body. It is very safe.

Pregnant women should schedule cord blood preservation during 28 to 30 weeks of pregnancy to ensure timely collection of cord blood.

Once parents have decided to collect and store cord blood for their baby, cord blood bank staff will explain the relevant matters to the parents:  sign contracts,  provide a cord blood collection box (to be given to physicians before delivery for collection of cord blood).  Staff  will ensure umbilical cord blood to be delivered to dedicated laboratory within 24 to 36 hours of collection.

At the laboratory,  the process of  separation and detection of umbilical cord blood stem cells in maternal blood will take place.  The isolated cord blood stem cells will be placed in liquid nitrogen at-197 degrees. All the operating procedures and related information will be recorded and tracked by computer bar code system to ensure it meets the international cord blood bank standard operating procedures and quality control requirements.

Cord Blood Collection Process Overview:

  1. contact the cord blood banking (phone, Internet inquiries, fax, communications)
  2. signed contracts and consent
  3. received cord blood collection kit (including: description of collection of umbilical cord blood and consent for obstetrician to collect cord blood.)
  4. give umbilical cord blood collection box to physician before going into labor
  5. cord blood will be collected by cord blood bank staff within 24 to 36 hours of collection,  or cord blood should be sent by a family member to designated laboratory within24 to 36 hours of collection. (it varies by each cord blood bank.)
  6. cord blood cells in cord blood will be separated from maternal cells and it will be screened  for activity & infectious diseases. Should any questions or concerns arise, the mother will be notified, she will decide whether or not to continue with the cord blood storage process
  7. cryopreserved and stored in liquid nitrogen freezers
  8. parents will receive a Certificate of Cryopreservation in 6 to 8 weeks from the cord blood bank
  9. parents may have access to  preserved cord blood stem cells when needed
  10. cord blood stem cells  will be delivered to  designated locations (medical institutions) upon request

Why save cord blood

Why save cord blood?

Cord blood transplantation may be used as a secondary method to cancer treatment for certain types of cancer. It has less side effects comparing to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Cord blood stem cell transplantation can help malignant blood diseases (malignant hematological diseases) such as: leukemia (leukemia), lymphoma (lymphoma).

Because cord blood transplantation has many advantages, it was suggested to keep the umbilical cord blood after birth instead of throwing it away as waste. It should be reserved for the children as it is an  important biological resource.  Saving the child's cord blood is equivalent to buying  life insurance for the child.

Cord blood is blood left over the placenta and umbilical cord blood after a baby is delivered; it is usually discarded as medical waste.  Over the last decade, studies have found that cord blood contains hematopoietic  stem cells that  can be reconstruct blood and the immune system, which can be used in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of many diseases. Therefore, cord blood has become an important source of hematopoietic stem cells, in particular, for unrelated sources of hematopoietic stem cells.  It is  also a very important human biological resources.

Why is cord blood can save lives?
Hematopoietic stem cells in cord blood is the basis of  saving lives.  Hematopoietic stem cells are the seeds of blood cells; it is the origin of cells of various blood cells in vivo, there were blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and many more by its differentiation and development from.  Hematopoietic stem cell is self-complementary, thus going. Hematopoietic stem cells using this regeneration, through the shift lever healthy hematopoietic stem cells that can treat many "incurable", such as blood diseases, congenital immune defects, genetic diseases, and prevent cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy on bone marrow hematopoietic function inhibition.  With scientific and technological progress, people also found that hematopoietic stem cells under certain conditions can be induced to differentiate into other cells. People look forward to using this method of tissue repair for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and  spinal cord injury.

Why is cord blood transplantation is effective?
China now has blood diseases, genetic diseases, AIDS and tens of millions of cancer patients, including leukemia and regenerative anemia patients with an annual increase of 4 million to  5 million of other genetic blood diseases and congenital patients has also increased. From the bone marrow,  peripheral blood and fetal cord blood,  hematopoietic stem cell transplantation may treat various blood diseases, congenital disease, AIDS and cancer patients. However, lack of bone marrow donor, and peripheral blood, and it is  vulnerable to viruses and tumor cells contamination.  The umbilical cord blood transplantation is effective, it produces fewer side effects and it is cost-effective.  However, matching between non-identical relative probability is  low, and cord blood at birth must be dealt with quickly and properly preserved. There is an urgent need to establish a cord blood bank.

Any risks of collecting umbilical cord blood ?
The process of collecting cord blood does no harm to the mother and the baby. After birth, both ends of the umbilical cord  are tided  immediately, while the infant and umbilical cord are separated by a doctor leading the hypodermic needle into the umbilical cord vein, taking the cord blood. This process is very simple, it can be done in just a few minutes. And it is  different from the traditional bone marrow collection, it does not require anesthesia, no pain, no side effects, it can be completed in the maternity hospital.  It is reported that the placenta, umbilical cord and the fetus were originally thrown away as waste after birth. The collection process is done when the placenta and umbilical cord are completely separated from the mother and the baby, therefore it has no adverse effects.


The development of umbilical cord blood

The development of umbilical cord blood:

Cord blood storage has become more common in recent years.  In 1992, the first publicly-funded cord blood bank was established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cord Blood Donation Program was formed.  Since then, more and more publicly and privately funded cord blood banks has beginning to emerge.  In the private areas, a major U.S. private cord blood bank claimed that the company has processed and stored the cord blood of  "more than one hundred seventy-five thousand newborns." In private cord blood banks, usage of cord blood is  mainly within members of the the family.  It can be used as autologous transplantation (use within oneself) and allogenenic transplantation (use within biologically related family members). Over the years, many brothers and sisters of children underwent successful cord blood transplantation.  Most medical professional agree that the recovery process would be more successful if cord blood comes from biologically-related donors.

Future applications of cord blood:

In 2001, a total of $330 million US dollars has been invested in the global stem cell industry. An important research piece is umbilical cord blood stem cells. Besides medical research, it is also used in regenerative medicine and cosmetic medicine.  Now scientists are most interested in the use of cord blood stem cells to cultivate the activity of cells or tissues and transplant into the body, so that damaged body organs and tissues can be regenerated.  So, from another perspective, the role of stem cells in the human body is like our "body maintenance engineers", aged and damaged organs may be repaired.

Main research areas:

Genetic therapy: the use of recombinant treatment of genetic diseases or genetic defects;

Regenerative therapy: the following diseases may be treatable in future years by using regenerative therapy: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, anti-aging and skin regeneration.


Cord blood transplantation

Cord blood transplantation

Umbilical cord blood is blood in the blood vessels connecting the placenta and the umbilical cord. In general,  umbilical cords are discarded as medical waste.  Umbilical cord blood is rich in hematopoietic stem cells with normal blood of all the ingredients, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.  Umbilical cord blood stem cells are pure,  have renewable power, and  less likely to be rejected,  of which is better than bone marrow. Peripheral blood stem cells, can be widely used in medical treatments.  Umbilical cord blood stem cells are not yet fully differentiated cells,  it is the main function of the cells in various tissues and organs to update and repair injuries.  Umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow stem cells and similar applications with congenital umbilical cord blood transplantation to treat aplastic anemia patients, umbilical cord blood transplantation has been used more widely to treat immune  system disorders and blood diseases.  Current medical cord blood stem cells can be used to treat more than 80 diseases, including cancer, genetic, blood and immune diseases. Umbilical cord blood can provide  families with another level of protection.  In fact, in many parts of our body, there is the existence of stem cells, the most widely known is that the bone marrow. Many people have heard of bone marrow transplantation, and bone marrow transplant is the transplantation of bone marrow stem cells.  The application of bone marrow transplantation is common, however, there are still many difficulties to overcome,  such as finding the right bone marrow, as well as transplant rejection, etc.  Our cord blood stem cells are better than bone marrow stem cells.  Therefore,  in recent years,  cord blood transplantation has gradually replace the trend of bone marrow transplantation, until now, there has been  more than 9000 cord blood transplantation cases.

The advantages of cord blood transplantation:

  1. Direct source: Umbilical cord blood is easy to obtain,  and it does no harm to the newborn and the mother.(As long as the procedure of  collection and storage of  discharged placenta and the umbilical cord blood vessels during delivery is performed correctly )
  2. pure: less affected by radiation, viruses, drug contamination.
  3. the renewable power: stem cell ability to differentiate is strong .
  4. timely : the timeliness of treatment of diseases matters, cord blood can be used immediately after thawed
  5. lower rejection rate: less likely to be rejected compared to bone marrow transplant.
  6. higher adaptability: easier to be adapted by your body compared to bone marrow.
  7. lower cost:  it costs less to store the cord blood compare to obtaining bone marrow.