Cord Blood

Steps in the Cord Blood Collection Process

Cord blood is an alternative source of stem cells used for re-population of the patientís bone marrow after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Research has led to the discovery that the blood in a baby's umbilical cord is rich in stem cells. These cord blood stem cells can be collected immediately after the baby's birth, processed and stored for use by the baby, a matched sibling, or an HLA-matched unrelated patient.

Cord Blood Collection

Cord blood is collected in small (250 ml) blood collection bags containing anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting. This bag also allows the collected blood to be processed in a close system. This technique limits the possibility of bacterial contamination during extensive blood processing.

Two Ways to Collect Cord Blood

In-utero collection: After the baby is delivered, cord blood collection can be initiated when the placenta is still in-utero. This technique usually gives a little bit higher volume recovery then ex-utero collection.

Ex-utero collection: After the baby is delivered and the placenta detaches from the utero, the placenta and cord are carefully handled and placed in a provided collection system. Both techniques are painless and do not affect the babyís health.

Delivery of the Cord Blood to the Blood Center

Bergen Community Regional Blood Center operates 24 hours a day. The collection facility informs the Blood Bank about cord blood collection. Collected units are picked up from the delivery site by a Blood Bank employee or designated courier.

Processing of Cord Blood

Processing of cord blood is performed as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours after collection. Processing involves three major steps:

1. Removal of red cells

2. Volume reduction of White Cell Concentrate

3. Freezing

Cord Blood and Maternal Blood Testing

Each sample of maternal blood matching collected cord blood is tested against the panel of recommended tests. Positive results of these tests may disqualify the cord blood from being used in the future.

Storage

Cord Blood units are stored in a Liquid Nitrogen Freezer.†To guarantee safety of the stored units:

  • The storage facility is equipped with an electrical power generator.
  • Each freezer has its own battery back-up.
  • Temperatures are:
    1. Recorded around the clock
    2. Monitored by an independent company
    3. Checked daily and recorded by an employee of the Blood Center
  • Liquid Nitrogen feeding of the freezers is controlled automatically and carefully monitored.

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