Cord Blood Collection Process
What is the Cord Blood Collection Process?
- Cord blood collection is a completely painless procedure that does not interfere with the birth or with mother-and-child bonding following the delivery. There is no risk to either the mother or baby.
- Cord blood is only collected after the baby is born and the cord is clamped and cut. A needle is inserted into one of the veins in the umbilical cord, allowing the blood to flow through tubing into a collection bag.
- Cord blood collection does not require Blood Center staff to be present during the baby’s delivery.
- Blood samples from the baby’s mother are needed to test for infectious diseases. No blood is taken from the baby.
- Mothers who donate their baby’s cord blood complete a consent form and health history questionnaire.
- There is no cost to you for donating.
What happens to your unit after it’s collected?
- After the cord blood unit leaves the collection hospital, it is sent to our downtown Seattle location.
- It is assigned a unique donor ID number (to ensure the donor’s confidentiality)
- It is weighed and sampled, to determine if it meets minimum volume and cell count requirements
- Units meeting all criteria are then connected to an automated processing machine.
- The individual cord blood unit is separated into 3 different components.
- A small sample of the red blood cells is archived for future testing and another sample is sent to test for bacterial growth.
- The buffy coat contains the stem cells and is the portion that will be frozen and eventually used for patient transplant
- A small amount of plasma is archived for future testing and another sample is sent to test for bacterial growth.
- After slowly adding a cryoprotectant to keep the cells safe during the freezing process, the cord blood unit is ready to be frozen.
- The cord blood unit is placed into a metal cartridge.
- The cartridge is then placed into a small freezer, where a computer program regulates the freezing rate.
- The cartridge, containing the now frozen cord blood unit, is placed into one of the storage racks that is kept in the large liquid nitrogen freezer.
- The cord blood unit will remain frozen until a compatible recipient is located.