Close to picking out a cord blood bank?  Protect yourself by getting ALL the information.  Ask the cord bank you have in mind the following questions before you sign the dotted line.

Where is the lab that will store your child’s cord blood?

Quick and proper transportation of the cord blood is crucial.  Find out exactly where the laboratory is and make sure it is within a safe distance from the delivery location to ensure a high probability of a successful transportation.

What types of tests are run on maternal blood?

Ask what specific tests are run on the mother’s blood and if any of these tests can provide justification for the samples to be rejected.

Is the cord blood tested for infectious diseases?

Find out if the cord blood bank tests for infectious diseases and what happens if your child’s cord blood tests positive for one of these diseases.  Do they reject the cord blood?

Does the lab HLA type the sample?

Before a transplant occurs, HLA typing is required to match the donor and patient.  However, since HLA typing can cost several hundred dollars, there is no real reason to incur this cost until a transplant is needed.  Find out if the bank insists on HLA typing the sample prior to the need of a transplant, and if so, what the fees are for this service.

Will you be notified by the laboratory?

Find out if the laboratory will contact you or if you are going to be responsible for getting a hold of them.  As a parent you will want to know when the cord blood was received, when it was processed, and the test results of the cord blood, including the final cell count.

What processing technique is used?

Cord blood banking companies use a variety of patented processing methods to ensure the highest probability of success.   Ask what type of processing the bank uses and why they believe it to be superior.

Is the cord blood stored in a single unit or is it compartmentalized?

For transplants, it is irrelevant because you want as many cells as possible so the entire unit of cord blood will be used.  However, if scientific research advances and treatments and therapies are developed where only a small number of cells are needed, then having the cord blood stored in compartments could be advantageous because it would allow the cord blood to be used a portion at a time.

What is the recommended volume needed?

Find out what the bank recommends in terms of volume and what happens if the cell count ends up being less than the recommended volume?

How do they freeze the cord blood?

Find out how they ensure that your cord blood is stored safely and monitored.  What freezers do they use?  Is the cord blood frozen in a separate freezer or mixed with other types of samples?  Do they use liquid nitrogen or vapor nitrogen?

Can the bank change storage facilities?

Find out if the bank reserves the right to change storage facilities.  And if they do, what type of quality guarantee do you have regarding the new facility?  How can you be assured that the cord blood will be transported safely from one facility to another?