Why you shouldn’t store whole blood even if it is a cheaper process

It is well known that freezing whole blood is a cheaper and simpler option for tissue banks when it comes to processing umbilical cord samples for stem cell storage. So why does everyone not store whole blood?

The majority of tissue and cell storage banks remove the red blood cells from each umbilical cord sample (volume reduced), saving only the buffy coat that contains the valuable stem cells. Plasma is also removed as there is not enough to be useful for any medical treatments such as for haemophilia.

If the call comes for the need to use the cells for a medical treatment then the samples need to be sent to the appropriate medical facility. For samples that have been volume reduced the cells can be transfused into the patient once thawed.

Whole Blood

For cord blood samples that have not been volume reduced but stored as whole blood the red blood cells are not removed, they will have to be washed before they can be used. This is to remove the red cells that can be toxic to the person receiving the blood. The washing process can cause a significant loss of valuable stem cells.

The safest way to prevent such an issue with your cord blood is to remove the red cells at the beginning of the processing of the umbilical cord sample. There is a  little more time needed in the processing but it will mean that there a no risks to the sample that can with the whole blood processing.

For families the most important thing to consider is the safe and secure storage of their cord cell samples. They may be needed to help secure their families future health. If these cells are needed then you will want to make sure that when the cell samples are thawed, that they can be used and there is no further loss of valuable stem cells.

Biovault Family has released the highest number of privately banked cord blood units in the UK.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the processing procedures please do contact us.

stem cell preservation

BSc (Hons) Microbiology

Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.

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