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What are the relative advantages of automated cord blood processing versus manual processing?

Manual processing is when cord blood is handled in the laboratory by trained technicians. These technicians should be wearing gowns and gloves and handling the cord blood inside a laminar flow cabinet. Automated processing is when the cord blood collection bag goes into a functionally closed device like the Sepax or the AXP systems. In automated processing the laboratory technicians do not handle the cord blood during processing. When processing is completed by either manual or automated methods, a technician will always manually transfers the final storage bag to a controlled rate freezer

Advantages and Disadvantages of Automated Processing:

  • Advantage: There are less opportunities for technician errors or the introduction of contaminants during processing.
  • Automated processing may be a better approach in countries where it is hard to train and retain experienced technicians.
  • Disadvantage: Automated processing is much more expensive. First, the laboratory has to purchase two devices, in case one breaks. Second, the devices use disposable kits which add significantly to the operating expenses.
  • Automated processing makes sense in busy laboratories that handle a higher volume of cord blood business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Manual Processing:

  • Advantage: Manual processing is much less expensive.
  • Manual processing makes sense in countries where highly skilled labor is easily available and affordable.
  • Advantage: Manual processing is better for processing the smallest family collections because the procedures can be customized as needed.