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Are there special considerations for expat cord blood banking?

It is best to store cord blood in the country where the baby is born, provided a quality bank is available. If you currently live in one country and plan to store cord blood in your home country, make sure that your family bank has a shipping container that is well insulated and carries a temperature logger.

The important thing to know is that fresh cord blood that is traveling into the bank has a shelf life, whereas when the bank sends out cryogenically frozen cord blood to a clinic it does not expire.

After birth, the cord blood is shipped to the laboratory at room temperature. Every hour that it spends in transit, stem cells are gradually dying. Ideally the cord blood should arrive at the laboratory and be processed within 48 hours of birth. Sending the cord blood on a long airplane flight or a series of connecting flights is an additional risk for cell loss, unless the blood travels in the passenger compartment and is protected by a well-insulated shipping container.

By comparison, if a day should come where you need to use the cryopreserved stem cells, they will be shipped to the treatment center frozen and only thawed upon arrival. So on the release side of banking, cord blood stem cells can travel anywhere in the world with no loss of viability because they travel frozen.