The donated units of cord blood are transported from the hospital where the baby was delivered to our dedicated laboratory facility for processing and testing.
Once the cord blood arrives at the laboratory it is entered onto our secure database and then processed and tested to ensure that it is safe to be given to a patient.
The tests performed on each unit of cord blood include:
Both the motherâ€™s blood sample and the cord blood unit are tested for the same infectious diseases as blood donors. These include HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and HTLV as well as tests for some other blood borne infections.
Further tests are performed when a cord blood unit is selected for a transplant.
A blood count is performed on the donated unit of cord blood to calculate the number of stem cells. This tells us if the cord blood unit contains enough stem cells for a transplant.
Every cord blood donation is tissue typed. Tissue typing is a test that measures antigens that determine whether donor tissue is compatible for transplant into another person.
A sample of the cord blood unit is tested for bacterial and fungal contamination, as this could be harmful to a potential transplant patient.
What happens next?
The cord blood unit is processed by removing the red blood cells and plasma. This reduces the volume of the cord blood unit to 20ml, leaving us with all the vital blood stem cells required for transplantation.
A cryopreservative (DMSO) is added to protect the blood stem cells while they are frozen. The cord blood unit is then frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen containers which are specifically designed for cord blood units.
Cord blood can be donated at Barnet General Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital, Luton & Dunstable Hospital,
St George's Hospital, Watford General Hospital
and University College Hospital.
Register now to donate