There are two types of cord blood banks: Public and private. Public cord blood banks
are for non-family use. There are two public cord blood banks in Canada: One
in Montreal (Hema-Quebec Cord Blood
Bank) and the other in Edmonton. They process only a limited number of cases presumably due to
the high cost of cord blood banking. Only a fraction of eligible cord blood
units are accepted by public banks, with the bulk of cord blood units being unfortunately
discarded at birth. Families who donate their child's cord blood to public
banks are not assured their samples would be available to them if required.
Private cord blood banks on the other hand store cord blood specifically for
Private cord blood banks are for families wishing to bank for their children's
potential future use and are capable of storing cord blood samples for as long
as the family chooses. However, less than ten percent of expectant parents are
aware of cord blood banking, with approximately 98% of cord blood units being discarded as medical waste.
Therefore, all expectant parents should be informed and aware of this valuable
Private cord blood banking is not associated with any side effects. Initial cost can be
a factor for some parents since the service is not yet covered by the MSP or other medical insurance in
Canada; but for the typical Canadian household, cord blood banking is an
advisable and affordable investment, equivalent in cost to about a quarter of a cup of regular coffee
per day if they choose to bank their child's cord blood for 18 years or
parents choosing to bank their child's cord blood with a private cord blood bank guarantees
availability of the cord blood sample should it ever be needed for
Current estimates place the likelihood of a child using its own cord blood at greater
than 1 in 2500 before the age of 20, and greater than 1 in 500 by the age of
70. More importantly, there are currently thousands of studies that are
investigating new applications for cord blood in the treatment of common
life-threatening and disabling diseases such as Diabetes, Heart Disease,
Alzheimer's disease, Liver Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson's disease,
Spinal Cord Injury, or Stroke. With ongoing advances in biomedicine and
biotechnology, it is possible and even likely that nearly every individual
born in this generation will benefit from stem cell therapy in her or his
parent should have an opportunity to consider cord blood banking but many
parents do not find out until their child's cord blood has already been
discarded. After being informed and presented with relevant information, the
expectant parents must consider the benefits versus cost; a personal choice
that should be based upon an informed decision that the parent is comfortable
with. Thus the choice whether to bank, or not to bank, will vary from
parent-to-parent depending upon personal and financial values. In the same way
that some families feel it is a responsible or worthwhile investment to
purchase life or disability insurance, others may decide the chance of
accidents is slim enough that it could be disregarded; there really is no right
or wrong decision.For many parents today, cord blood banking is an optional biomedical
'insurance' that is both affordable and sensible.
The cord blood procedure typically involves minimal effort from the
expectant parents. Consulting with
several different cord blood banks, we have the general picture as follows:
1. The parents are provided with a cord blood collection kit after registration with a cord blood bank.
2. The parents bring the cord blood collection kit to the hospital
on the date of delivery and provide it to the delivering physician or nurse.
3. The physician will collect the cord blood and some maternal blood (for
infectious disease testing- required), according to set instructions.
4. The parents ship the cord blood to the processing facility using a pre-arranged
5. The processing facility processes the cord blood upon receipt and conducts cell counting as
well as infectious disease testing.
6. After test results
are received, a report or
certificate is issued to the family.