Cord Blood Banking FAQs

Experience, Expertise and Standards

What is unique about FamilyCord?
FamilyCord has been providing stem cell services for 15 years and is operated by nationally renowned physicians, including a stem cell transplant physician. Our company is guided by world-class scientific expertise and medical ethics in everything we do. FamilyCord has extensive experience in clinical laboratory management, cord blood banking, and frozen tissue storage. Our parent company, California Cryobank, has been an innovative world leader in cryopreservation since 1977.

With a precious resource like cord blood, you want to ensure the company you select will be there when you need it. FamilyCord has been providing stem cell services for more than 15 years and has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. Also, FamilyCord is registered with the FDA, accredited by the AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks), and certified by CLIA for cord blood banking.

FamilyCord features a patented state-of-the-art collection kit to provide maximum stem cell protection:

  • Temperature stabilizers provide 10 hours of protection against severe heat and cold, most other kits offer only 30 minutes
  • Reinforced case and protective inner tubes provide the ultimate protection against breakage
  • FDA-approved blood collection bag included in our OSHA-compliant kit

FamilyCord uses a professional medical courier to ensure safe and efficient transportation of cord blood and tissue from your hospital room to our laboratory.

When you enroll with FamilyCord, you will receive your own personal Cord Blood Educator who will work with your family as it grows. The Cord Blood Educator will be your single point of contact during regular business hours throughout your relationship with FamilyCord.

We are available for any questions you or your health care provider may have before, during, or after the delivery of your baby. We will notify you when your umbilical stem cells have been processed.

 

What is Enrollment?
Enrolling with FamilyCord means that you have decided to save your baby's cord blood and/or cord tissue. Saving privately means that your baby's stem cells will be available for your family's use, should the need ever arise and the family member is an HLA match for the stem cells. Once you pay your $150 enrollment fee, your Cord Blood Educator will coordinate the shipment of the collection kit to you.


Does FamilyCord have experience providing cord blood for use in treatment?
FamilyCord provides you powerful stem cell protection when your family needs it most. Our company has released more than 100 units for stem cell treatments. FamilyCord is one of the most experienced companies in providing cord blood for use in medical therapies. Our medical director is a stem cell transplant physician at one of the leading hospitals in Southern California. All of the cord blood units released for client use have been viable — the ultimate validation of our processing and storage methods.


Is FamilyCord a financially stable company?
Yes. FamilyCord has had consistent corporate leadership and financial stability in this industry. With a precious resource like cord blood, you want to be sure the company you bank with will be there when you need it. FamilyCord has been providing stem cell services for more than 15 years and has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau.


Collection, Processing and Storage

Do I need to refrigerate my FamilyCord Collection Kit?
No, there is no need to refrigerate the collection kit and it should not be kept in freezing temperatures or extreme heat. FamilyCord features a patented state-of-the-art collection kit to provide maximum stem cell protection with temperature stabilizers provide 10 hours of protection against severe heat and cold while most other kits offer only 30 minutes. Your collection kit should be kept at room temperature both before and after your baby's cord blood and cord tissue collection.


When and how is the cord blood and/or cord tissue collected?
Cord blood collection occurs after birth, immediately after the umbilical cord has been cut. The remaining blood in the cord is collected into a FDA-approved bag. Your healthcare provider can collect cord blood after a vaginal or C-section birth. The FamilyCord collection kit includes all the items necessary for the collection of cord blood and tissue. FamilyCord collection bags utilize liquid Citric Phosphate Dextrose (CPD) anticoagulant. We have never used any form of heparin. In a recent study, cord blood units collected with liquid CPD contained significantly more CD34+ cells (stem cells) than units collected with dry heparin.


What is red blood cell (or RBC) depletion and plasma reduction?
We use red cell depletion and plasma reduction to isolate the solution containing stem cells found in cord blood. Red blood cell depletion and plasma reduction is the procedure performed by leading cord blood banks prior to cryogenic storage. This process removes most of the red blood cells from a cord blood unit ("fully processed"), which is preferred by stem cell transplant physicians.


Why do most cord blood banks remove the majority of red blood cells from a cord blood collection before storage?
Most cord blood banks, including FamilyCord, remove the majority of red blood cells from the sample because they may cause severe complications if the sample is used in a transplant. Red blood cells are not part of the healing stem cell population in your baby’s cord blood, so removing them has little effect on the cells you want to save. FamilyCord's processing method separates the red blood cells from the lifesaving stem cells.


What's special about FamilyCord's processing method?
FamilyCord uses a manual processing method that helps ensure quality through each processing step. FamilyCord achieved an average of 4.1 million CD34+ cells per unit in the first quarter of 2012.This is important because having more stem cells for treatment can improve medical outcomes if the cells are ever needed for treatment.


Does the hospital need to provide any materials for my baby's collection?
No. You will receive your collection kit from FamilyCord. Your kit contains all the items your healthcare provider needs to safely and painlessly collect the cord blood and cord tissue after birth. However, you must remember to take the kit with you to the hospital when you deliver.


Can cord blood and cord tissue be collected after a C-section delivery?
Yes, FamilyCord's collection kit allows your healthcare provider to collect after a C-section or vaginal delivery.


Is there any risk to my child or myself during collection?
No, collection is safe and painless for you and your baby. Your healthcare provider does not need to alter the normal birthing process in any way, except to collect your baby's cord blood and/or cord tissue after the cord has been clamped and cut. The entire process is simple and can be performed by your medical healthcare provider in less than 10 minutes.


How is my baby's cord blood shipped to FamilyCord’s laboratory?
FamilyCord uses a professional medical courier to ship your collection kit to our state-of-the-art laboratory. After the collection, the labor and delivery staff will return the collection kit to you or a designated family member. Simply call the number on the kit to arrange for our medical courier to pick up the kit from your room at the hospital. Each collection is uniquely labeled with a barcode for identification and tracking.


Where are my baby's cord blood stem cells stored, and how do I know they are stored safely?
Your baby's cord blood will be stored at FamilyCord's state-of-the-art laboratory and storage facility in Los Angeles, California. The FamilyCord secure storage facility is specially designed to ensure maximum protection for your cord blood stem cells from earthquake, fire, flood, and loss of power.


Our state-of-the-art facility also features security and identification technology to protect our clients' privacy. The FamilyCord facility features the following safety systems:

  • An emergency generator provides fully independent back-up power in case of any power failure. This ensures that our facility remains active and protected - even in case of a city-wide blackout.
  • 6,000 gallon liquid nitrogen tank provides a constant supply of freezing agent to specimens. If our nitrogen supply is interrupted, our system can maintain safe levels of nitrogen for several weeks without refilling.

To learn more about the safety and security features of the FamilyCord facility, click here.


Our processing, quality-control, and quality-assurance metrics are in accordance with FDA guidelines, and we are accredited by the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) and certified by CLIA (a federal program to ensure quality laboratory testing) for cord blood banking. FamilyCord's laboratory technology provides secure, long-term protection for your baby's stem cells.


Shouldn't I choose a cord blood bank that is close to my home?
The safety and viability of your baby's stem cells are far more important than the proximity of the storage location to your home. Should your family ever need them, FamilyCord will quickly ship your stem cells to any medical center in the world.


Having the most stem cells for treatment and ensuring the long-term safety and viability of those cells is important.


FamilyCord has helped many clients use their stem cells for transplants and experimental regenerative medicine therapies. All of the stem cell units released for client use have been viable for treatment.


Most families will require long-term storage. Therefore, it is important to choose a cord blood bank that is financially stable and more likely to be there if you need your stem cells.


FamilyCord’s track record of long-term stability and financial strength demonstrates our commitment to being here for you in the future. FamilyCord has been providing stem cell services for 15 years and has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau.


What happens after my baby's cord blood has been stored successfully?
As part of our complete customer service, we notify each of our clients after their newborns' stem cells have been stored. Your personal Cord Blood Educator will contact you by phone within two business days of the sample being processed. Your baby's Certificate of Storage will be sent to you by mail within 4-6 weeks after processing is complete.


How long will the cord blood remain viable in the kit after collection?
For the best results, we recommend our clients call the professional medical courier number as soon as possible after collection. With FamilyCord’s courier, the collection kit is typically delivered to FamilyCord's laboratory from anywhere in the U.S. in less than 24 hours.
To be safe, FamilyCord uses a temperature stabilized kit which provides 10 hours of protection against severe heat and cold, most other cord blood collection kits offer only 30 minutes.


How do I know that my baby's cord blood will not be confused with someone else's?
Your baby's cord blood is constantly tracked and easily found through our identification system:
1. Unique identifier (bar code). When you enroll with FamilyCord, your baby's collection kit is assigned a bar code. This same identifier remains with your baby's cord blood kit, paperwork, and sample all the way to storage.
2. Once your baby's cord blood is stored, the storage location is logged in our computer system, which we back up to tape daily.


If my family ever needs the cord blood sample, how do we retrieve it?
Should the need arise, FamilyCord will work with your physician to make arrangements for confirmatory testing, release, and transportation of your baby's stem cells to a designated hospital.

How long has cord blood banking been available?
The opportunity for expectant families to collect and store their newborns' umbilical cord blood stem cells has been available since late 1995. Currently, thousands of parents are taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

How long can cord blood be stored?
Cord blood stem cells are known to have remained viable after 15 years of storage. In fact, they have stayed in the same condition as the day they were collected. With proper freezing and storage in liquid nitrogen, scientists say, it may be possible to preserve the cells for many decades, or perhaps, indefinitely.

What federal or state guidelines or regulations does FamilyCord follow?
FamilyCord’s processing, quality-control, and quality-assurance metrics are in accordance with FDA guidelines in addition to being accredited by the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) and certified by CLIA (a federal program to ensure quality laboratory testing) for cord blood banking. In addition, we are licensed in the states that require special licensing, specifically New York, New Jersey, and California.


Common Misconceptions


Misconception: "There is no need to bank my baby's own cord blood because I can retrieve my or someone else's donated sample from a public bank."

Fact: When you donate for public use, if the sample is eligible and stored, the cord blood may be available to any patient who needs a transplant, so you cannot assume that it will be available for your family if ever needed.


For families to make an informed decision, it is important to understand that not all donated samples are banked. As many as 71% of donations may be rejected by public banks based on family medical history, maternal medical history, collection volume, and examination of the maternal blood sample.


Private banking helps ensure that your baby's cord blood is saved and available for your family if ever needed.


If someone in your family needs stem cells, the most important considerations are:

  • Quality of the sample – Collected, processed, and stored so that sterility and stem cell count are optimized
  • Matching donor – Stem cells from a matched relative (preferably a sibling) are generally the best treatment option in transplant situations, such as cancers and blood disorders. For those cases, having a matched family member's cord blood available may have significant advantages, including fewer complications, improved survival, and a better quality of life without the need for anti-rejection medications. FamilyCord offers HLA testing at the point of processing so you have those results readily available if the need ever arises.
  • Access to a matching sample – Many patients are unable to find a donor in the public system, especially those who belong to minority ethnic groups that are not adequately represented in public banks. There is no guarantee that a matched sample will be available in a public bank or within your family.
    As with other medical procedures, therapies using cord blood involve risk, which should be discussed with your physician. For current experimental regenerative medicine applications, the child's own cord blood is required, so storing your baby's cord blood in a family bank is the only option.

"A patient's best chance of finding a match is with a brother or sister."
-National Marrow Donor Program


Misconception: "I definitely can donate to a public bank."

Fact: Donating to a public bank may not be possible for several reasons:

  • Only certain hospitals are able to collect cord blood donations, so not all families can donate.
  • Based on requirements for the donor and cord blood donation, many families are not eligible for donation for a variety of reasons, including family health history, maternal exposure to viruses, and international travel.
  • As many as 71% of donations may be rejected by public banks based on family medical history, maternal medical history, collection volume, and examination of the maternal blood sample
  • If families decide too late, they may be denied access to donating.