Cord Blood/Cell Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Donating your baby’s cord blood is free.

Donating to the public cord blood bank is completely free. There are no costs to you when you donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank. Neither you nor your baby will receive any compensation for donating your baby’s cord blood to this program. All associated costs will be paid by the San Diego Blood Bank Cord Blood Program. Neither you nor your insurance will be charged for any expenses.

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 diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, anemias, immune diseases, metabolic disorders and other conditions.

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 cord.  After the cord blood is collected, it is stored in the Cell Therapy Center at San Diego Blood Bank's headquarters and made available through the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) Be the Match cord blood registry for life-saving transplantation in patients.

When a patient needs a transplant, his or her doctor will search Be the Match 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.

Your privacy is protected.

Names and contact information of cord blood donor mothers and babies are never shared. To protect you and your baby’s privacy, a unique identification number will be assigned to you and your baby’s cord blood. The unique identification number will be used for all cord blood samples during collection, testing and processing. The link between you and your baby’s name and you and your baby’s unique identifying numbers will be kept in a locked file cabinet in a restricted area of San Diego Blood Bank.

A cord for the community.

If you want to donate your baby’s cord blood to the San Diego Blood Bank’s Cell Therapy Cord Blood Program you should first.

At the time of your delivery, if you meet the initial screening requirements, a kit from San Diego Blood Bank will be available for collection. You will be asked to donate blood samples used to test for infectious diseases. Blood samples will only be drawn from mother, not baby.

If you wish to contact an independent third party not connected with this study about problems, concerns, questions, information or input, please contact NMDP Donor Advocacy Program at 1-800-526-7809, extension 8710.

Your decision can give someone else a tomorrow.

Donating cord blood is safe for you and your baby. Right after your baby is born and takes its first breath, the umbilical cord is cut to separate the baby from the placenta. Blood left in the cord and placenta is collected by gravity into a special bag. The collection takes a few minutes and does not interfere with the baby bonding process.

As you celebrate the birth of your baby, consider donating the cord blood and celebrate twice. You can help others get the transplants they need by donating your baby’s cord blood to the San Diego Blood Bank.

A new birth provides diversity.

Cord blood has several advantages for life saving transplantation procedures. Cord blood doesn't have to match a patient's tissue type as closely as donated bone marrow stem cells from adults and therefore more patients are able to receive transplants. Also, cord blood is safer because there is less risk of graft versus host disease, a condition where the stem cells that are infused can attack the patient that receives them.

More than 40 percent of cord blood units used in Be the Match transplants go to ethnically or racially diverse patients. A key problem for transplantation is that minorities are an underserved group due to the lack of acceptable bone marrow matches available to them. The San Diego Cord Blood Bank has the unique advantage of having access to a large population of racially and ethnically diverse people, so cord blood collection in our community makes good sense. Donating to a public cord blood bank is free. Donating to this bank, just like the blood bank, means the cord blood is available to any patient who needs a transplant.

San Diego Blood Bank’s Cell Therapy Program serves as a public cord blood bank in California and has cord blood collection agreements in place with participating hospitals in the greater San Diego and Sacramento regions.

In the past, when a baby was born the umbilical cord was discarded as medical waste. Medical research has since shown that cord blood is a rich source of life-saving stem cells that can be used to treat serious health problems in patients. Now blood from the umbilical cord is collected after a baby's birth and donated to a public cord blood bank like the one at the San Diego Blood Bank. That cord blood can help someone with a life-threatening disease.

A new birth provides hope for a cure.

Donated cord blood units that do not meet minimum criteria to be listed on a registry and used for transplant may be used for research, quality control and other studies. All cells are valuable to help improve the process, find new treatments and provide a future for others.

We are moving into a new era of cell-based therapies worldwide, and the Cell Therapy department is deeply involved in carrying out research to supply stem cell products and services to academic and biopharmaceutical researchers for the development of new cell-based therapies for the treatment of a broad range of diseases, including cancer, immune and genetic disorders. We are also carrying out our own internal research programs with cord blood stem cells to develop therapies targeting cancer and immune disorders and exploring opportunities in the new field of regenerative medicine, using cell therapy for the treatment of age-related disorders such as cardiovascular, neurological and autoimmune problems.

Additional information

For more information on our Cell Therapy Program, please call us at 619-400-8304. Financial donations are vital in keeping San Diego Blood Bank’s Cell Therapy Program on the cutting edge of cell therapy and research.

Please donate today.




Public Cord Blood Bank Accreditation

On March 26th the San Diego Blood Bank’s Department of Cell Therapy successfully completed a first time accreditation audit of their Cord Blood processing team by the American Association of Blood Banking (AABB).  This gives the SDBB Cord Blood Bank full accreditation for all aspects of Cord Blood Banking, including collection, processing, storage and distribution of cord blood.  These cord blood units are being listed with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) as a life-saving therapy for patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. The SDBB Cord Blood Bank collects donated cord blood from multiple hospitals in the Greater San Diego region as well as in the Greater Sacramento Region of California.