This may seem like a daunting task as there are many private banking services available and there are many factors to consider when weighing your options.
If you're not sure where to begin or what to look for in a cord blood bank, consider the following points as guidelines for your research: Accreditations/Certifications What accreditations or certifications does the cord blood bank hold? The bank you select should be fully accredited by the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) for the specialized processing and storage of hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.
Other important criteria to look for include registration with the U.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), certification by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), cGMP-/cGTP-compliant practices, and licensing in states with applicable regulations.
Stem Cell Collection Does the company offer you the ability to bank more stem cells by collecting both cord blood and placental-derived stem cells-or is stem cell collection limited to cord blood only? By collecting stem cells from both your baby's umbilical cord blood and the placenta, you significantly increase the number of stem cells banked.
This improves the potential for a successful transplant should your family ever need the stem cells you're storing.
Red Blood Cell Depletion Ask cord blood banks about their practices regarding red blood cell depletion.
Specifically, ask them what percentage of red blood cells will be removed from your baby's cord blood during processing.
It's important that they remove as many red blood cells (RBC) as possible from the cord blood before the unit is cryogenically preserved--try to find a bank that can provide 90% depletion or better.
Transplant physicians prefer stem cell collections that are RBC depleted (as much as possible) as they pose fewer risks to the recipient and increase the chance that the collection can be used for a family member (reduces the potential for ABO/RH incompatibility).
Successful Storage and Release of Stem Cells Does the cord blood bank have a proven track record of storing and releasing stem cells for transplant? Ask how many units have been banked and how many have been successfully released.
If units have been released for transplant, find out whether a unit has ever been rejected due to poor viability or low cell count.
Financial Stability & Longevity Is the cord blood bank financially stable? You should seek out a bank with a strong track record and a good reputation.
It should be easy to access the financial status and profitability of publicly-traded cord blood banks.
Also, while the cord blood banking industry is relatively new, it's still important to look for a company that's been around for a number of years.
Other positive signs include a company's active participation in furthering advancements in stem cell research and its affiliations with hospitals or universities.
Transplantation Shipping Process In addition to researching a company's collection and storage practices, you should ask about the cord blood bank's transplantation shipping process.
If the stored stem cells are called upon for transplant, will the unit be shipped via a commercial delivery service or via a specialized medical courier to ensure safe transit? A preferred transport method uses liquid nitrogen dry shippers, which are designed to safely transport stem cell units at cryogenic temperatures and will maintain the stem cell unit(s) at -190 degrees Celsius for 14 days.
Back-Up Facilities Does the cord blood bank have a backup storage facility? Multiple storage facilities provide extra security for your banked cord blood.
Are the facilities owned by the bank or contracted through a third-party? There is greater assurance that your cord blood will be handled properly if the bank plays a dedicated role throughout processing and storage.
Pricing Options & Guarantees Finally, don't just base your comparison on pricing.
Consider how the cord blood bank compares when it comes to pricing options.
Look for a bank that offers a range of pricing options for enrollment and long-term storage so you can pick a plan that works best within your budget.
What guarantees does the cord blood bank offer, if any? Carefully examine the company's refund policy.
If your cord blood cannot be processed, will you be refunded the processing fees? Also, if the banked stem cells do not engraft when called upon for transplant, will the cord blood bank search its donated inventory for a match, free-of-charge? If an acceptable unit is not found, will the company provide financial backing to help procure a match, if available, from a public registry? Conclusion These are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a cord blood bank.
If you focus on finding a company that addresses these factors through its medical expertise and state-of-the-art practices and facilities, you can be confident that you've found a cord blood bank you can count on.
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