The process of withdrawal and storage
- Umbilical cord blood stem cells are taken from the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of a baby.
- The umbilical cord is disconnected. The blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is then taken either before or after delivery of the placenta, depending on the procedure in the hospital.
- The blood is collected in a sterile bag; this blood bag is the umbilical cord blood unit. The blood taken is provided with an identification number and stored temporarily.
- The umbilical cord blood unit is transported to an umbilical cord blood bank where it is tested, frozen and stored for a long time.
- Test procedures include HLA typing to determine the level of compliance with potential recipients, cell count and testing for infectious agents such as AIDS virus, cytomegalovirus and hepatitisviruses.
- The umbilical cord blood unit is also checked to see if it contains enough blood-forming cells for transplantation.
- The blood is then frozen and stored at very low temperatures, usually in liquid nitrogen, for later use. The stored umbilical cord blood, which is taken from the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of a baby, is called the "umbilical cord blood unit".
If needed for a transplant, cord blood can often be transported to the transplant center within a few days, where it is thawed and infused into the patient.