Frequently Asked Questions

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Laboratory Standards

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Recommendations from Parent's Guide to Cord Blood
  • Educate expectant parents about all their options for cord blood (Education)
  • Choose a family bank that meets all your national and local regulations, plus has been inspected by an accreditation agency (Lab Standards)
  • Choose a family bank that uses a specialized courier to transport cord blood (Find a Family Bank), or in some countries the family can hire a specialized courier directly (Shipping & Handling).
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What questions should parents ask a Family Bank about Laboratory Standards?
  • Is the cord blood laboratory accredited by an agency that has specific standards for cord blood banks and conducts inspections? (ex: AABB, FACT, ISO)
  • Some US states license cord blood banks (CA, MD, NJ, NY): Do they operate in those states?  Note that the California Biologics License is based on AABB accreditation, but lags behind the latest AABB updates.
  • Does the lab process cord blood around the clock, or only on selected shifts?
  • What tests does the lab perform on maternal blood?  
  • What tests does the lab perform for infectious disease markers?
  • What tests does the lab perform for contamination?
  • Does the lab ever reject cord blood collections on the basis of the tests of maternal blood, infectious diseases, or contamination? 
  • Does the lab maintain a "quarantine tank" for the storage of blood that might be able to transmit an infection?
  • What tests does the lab perform to measure the stem cell count of the processed cord blood and the stem cell viability?
  • Does the lab/bank inform parents, prior to storage, if the collection is too small for a transplant, and give them the option not to save it?
  • Does the lab/bank offer parents a refund if the cord blood collection has certain problems (contamination, low volume)?  These refunds are typically only offered if the bank performed the collection as part of their service.
  • What information will parents receive in the final report about their stored cord blood?
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Why is it important to choose a Family Bank that is accredited?
The Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation recommends that parents select a Family Bank whose laboratory has been inspected and accredited by an accreditation agency specific to cord blood banking, as this provides a degree of quality assurance.

In some countries, national regulations hold Family Banks to the same standards as Public Banks, so an independent accreditation is not necessary (Examples: Germany, Israel).  But in most countries the federal requirements for Family Banks are not as strict as Public Banks, and then a voluntary accreditation is desirable.  For example, in the United States the FDA registers and inspects Family banks, but does not require them to have a BLA License like Public Banks. 

Caveat: The process of registering with an accreditation agency and getting inspected can take a year, so it is understandable if a brand new lab does not have an accreditation yet.