The birth of a baby holds with it a miracle most parents aren’t aware of — the ability to save a life.

A newborn’s cord blood stem cells have the potential to provide a lifesaving treatment for others.

Cord blood is obtained from the umbilical cord only after the birth of a healthy baby. Cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and many other life-threatening diseases. It can be especially useful for transplant patients from ethnically diverse backgrounds who often have difficulty finding a transplant match. Since cord blood is stored frozen it is available for use as soon as a match is identified. Your baby’s donated cord blood stem cells may increase the likelihood of someone benefiting from a cord blood stem cell transplant. Additional information regarding cord blood banking is available through the Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.

Parents Guide to Cord Blood Banking (English)
Parents Guide to Cord Blood Banking (Spanish)

There are two types of banks that store cord blood – public and private. Public banks store donated cord blood for potential use by transplant patients. The blood is listed in a registry by its tissue type, and the donor remains anonymous. If you give your child’s cord blood to a public bank, your donation may save a life, but you have no guarantee that you can retrieve the blood for use by your family later.

Private banks, also known as Family Banks, store cord blood with a link to the identity of the donor, so the family may retrieve it later if it is needed. The parents have custody of the cord blood until the child is an adult. The cord blood might someday be needed by the donor baby but there is no evidence that an autologous (self) cord blood transplant would be preferred to treat bone morrow failure, leukemia, hemoglobinopathies (such as sickle cell disease) and immunodeficiencies, because most conditions that may be helped by cord blood stem cells are already present in the cord blood (for example, pre-leukemic changes). The baby’s cord blood could be used by a relative who is a close enough match to receive a transplant from the donor; typically a sibling. There is a fee to collect the cord blood at birth, process and store the cord blood and an annual fee to store the cord blood. See a list of private banks.

For more information on the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank, call 314-268-2787 or 888-453-2673 or visit their web site

If you are interested in donating cord blood, contact the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) Network cord blood banks listed below offer cord blood collection kits to a limited number of women who are delivering at a hospital that does not actively collect cord blood from public cord blood banks. Women must meet eligibility criteria and their obstetrician or midwife must also agree to do the collection.

Contact Cord For Life before your 30th week of pregnancy for more information and tell them that you would like to donate to the Be The Match Registry®.

Cord for Life
270 Northlake Blvd.
Suite 1012
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
1 (800) 869-8608