Public and private cord blood banks
The NHS Cord Blood Bank
We are a public cord blood bank and do not charge you to collect, test or to store your donation. Cord blood donations to us are made available for public use and are not kept specifically for individuals or their families. Should a cord blood transplant be necessary for you or your family, the registries will be searched for the most appropriate stem cell unit with the best tissue match, regardless of its source. This could be the one you donated to us. However, if your cord blood has already been issued to another patient for transplant, it will not be available for your use.
When considering whether to donate your cord blood, it is important to understand the difference between us and privately owned facilities. Publicity in this area has caused much confusion and some misunderstanding and we will try to explain some of the differences for you.
Private cord banks
Private cord banks store a unit solely for use by the donor or their family, and most private facilities provide an opportunity for donors to store their cord blood. This is in the hope that if, in the future, a member of their family becomes sick with a stem cell-treatable disease, there might be a perfectly matched unit available to them. Other private banks collect cord blood in case a child develops a condition that could be treated with their own cord blood. For this service they charge an up-front collection fee and typically charge a yearly rate for ongoing storage of the cord blood unit.
Public cord banks
A public donation is made as a purely altruistic act, solely for the benefit of others. It has the potential to save the life of any person for whom the unit is a good match, including the person who donated it.
For further guidance on this, the Human Tissue Authority has published a useful guide for parents making a decision on whether to bank their baby’s cord blood:
Your decision to donate
If cord blood is donated publicly and several years later the donor requires a transplant, a public bank will always provide the best possible matched cord. This includes the original donation, providing it has not already been used for another patient.
The choice to donate is one that must be based on good information and advice and so if you require any further information on our service please contact us.