Public and Private Cord Blood Banking

What is the difference between a public bank and a private banks?

When you donate cord blood to a public bank, once processed it is immediately part of the Registry and available to any patient in need of a transplant. There is no cost to you to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public bank.

When you store your baby’s cord blood in a private cord blood bank, you pay collection and ongoing storage fees and it is reserved for your use only. The BWH Cord Blood Donation Program does not facilitate private cord blood banking.

Will my baby’s cord blood be stored at BWH?

No. The BWH Cord Blood Donation Program will collect your baby’s umbilical cord blood. The BWH Cord Blood Donation Program works with a public cord blood bank that is affiliated with the NMDP. Click here to learn more about the NMDP at Dana-Farber.

What do the experts think about public versus private cord blood banking?

While the choice to donate your baby’s cord blood is ultimately a personal decision, public donation is increasingly  advocated by experts:

If it turns out my child does need the cord blood, can I retrieve his/her cord blood from the bank I donated it to?

Cord blood banked in a public program may not be available for future private use. Most conditions that might be helped by cord blood stem cells already exist in the infant’s cord blood (i.e., premalignant changes in stem cells).

The Children’s Hospital of Boston has never used an autologous (banked for self) cord blood unit in transplantation.

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