What Happens to the Donated Cord Blood?

A new birth provides hope for others.

Cord blood contains many immature cells. The cells are collected, processed and stored at the San Diego Blood Bank. If the cells meet certain criteria, the cord blood unit is listed on a national registry, making it available to patients around the world for possible matching and use. Cord blood cells are used to treat patients with various forms of diseases (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, immune disease/disorder, metabolic disorder).

Cord blood collection is a safe and non-invasive process. If a woman chooses to donate umbilical cord blood, labor and delivery is not affected. No blood is taken from the baby, only from the umbilical cord after the baby is born and separated from the umbilical cord. After the cord blood is collected, it is stored at the San Diego Blood Bank and made available through the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), Be The Match Registry®, for lifesaving transplantation in patients.

When a patient needs a transplant, his or her doctor will search Be The Match Registry for a matching cord blood unit or adult marrow donor. If a cord blood unit is found to be the best choice, the cord blood is infused into the patient’s blood where the healthy cord blood stem cells replace the patient's damaged bone marrow stem cells, restoring the patient's immune system to protect them from life threatening infections.