Parents can choose to store their child’s cord blood and tissue privately or donate it to a public bank. What’s best for your family?
Private cord blood banks store the umbilical cord blood for the donor’s own use. This provides the benefit of being a 100% genetic match for the donor, and a much better chance of being a suitable match should a sibling require the stem cells.
Public banks store donated umbilical cord blood, it is available for anyone around the world to use. This means that it may not be available for the donor’s use if required. At the present time public banks do not offer the opportunity to donate cord tissue. In the UK there is the NHS Cord Blood Bank and the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank.
Private and public banks are not in competition for umbilical cord blood, it is the actual collection of the cord blood that is the limiting factor for the public banks in the UK. Although the number of hospitals in which you can donate your baby’s cord blood is growing there are still only a handful of hospitals that can collect cord blood.