Umbilical cord blood banking, often simply referred to as cord banking, is the process of collecting a newborn’s blood from the umbilical cord and transferring it to a facility for storage.  Cord blood banking can be broken down into the following 3 processes.

Collection:  How is cord blood collected?

Collecting cord blood is a simple and painless procedure that can be performed by your obstetrician or midwife.  After the delivery of your baby, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped and then the cord blood is collected.  There are two main techniques used to collect the blood, the syringe method (sometimes called the closed technique) and the bag method (sometimes called the gravity method).

Syringe Method – This technique is very similar to how blood is drawn.  A needle is inserted into the umbilical cord and the cord blood is drawn through the needle into a collection bag.

Bag Method – A technique where the umbilical cord is elevated to cause the cord blood to drain out into a collection bag.

If you are storing your cord blood with a private cord bank, the company will provide you with details regarding the collection technique they use – some offer both types.  In addition, you will receive a collection kit with everything in it you need so that you can simply store the kit with you hospital luggage and take it with you when you go to the hospital.

Shipping/Transfer:  How is cord blood shipped?

After the cord blood is collected it is shipped to the location of the cord bank for storage.  Time is of the essence and proper temperature of the cord blood should be maintained during delivery.  Some private banks offer courier services, but you should ask your cord bank about the details concerning shipping methods as they can vary greatly between banks.

Storage:  Where and how is cord blood stored?

After the cord blood is shipped and safely received by the bank, it is frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored in a freezer.  The cord blood is then continually monitored by the bank to ensure safe and secure preservation.  Learn more about how the cord blood is processed and how it is stored.