alaska women's health

Cord Blood Banking

What is a Cord Bank?

A cord blood bank is a facility which stores umbilical cord blood for future use. Both private and public cord blood banks have developed since the mid- to late-1990s in response to the potential for cord blood transplants in treating diseases of the blood and immune systems.


What is cord blood?

Umbilical cord blood (cord blood) is the blood remaining in your baby’s umbilical cord following birth. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, the building blocks of the blood and immune system.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are a body’s “master” cells that regenerate and turn into cells that form all other tissues, organs, and systems in the body. Stem cells are considered the building blocks of your blood and immune system and can reproduce into:
  • Red Blood Cells which carry oxygen to all cells in the body;
  • White Blood Cells which fight infection; and,
  • Platelets which aid in blood clotting. 

What are stem cells used for?

Stem cells are routinely used to fight 80 childhood and adult diseases, including, but not limited to, cancers, immune deficiencies, and genetic disorders.


Who could use your baby's cord blood stem cells?

  • Your baby’s cord blood is a valuable source of stems cells that are genetically unique to your baby and your family and can, therefore, possibly benefit:
  • Your baby;
  • Your baby's biological siblings;
  • Your baby's biological parents; and,
  • Other biological first and second degree relatives, including grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles

Why should I preserve my baby's cord blood?

  • It provides a distinct advantage in fighting certain life-threatening diseases;
  • It is an investment in your family's future;
  • You have a family history of cancer(s) and/or genetic disorder;
  • In case you might need to treat siblings, parents, and/or grandparents.

Future research and treatment possibilities for cord blood:

  • Treatment and/or prevention of:
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Various genetic disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spinal Cord injuries
  • Nerve and tissue regeneration
  • Glaucoma and other blinding eye diseases

Deciding to bank your baby’s umbilical cord blood is a decision that must be decided upon prior to delivery. For more information regarding the cord blood banking facilities that are available to you, please refer our pregnancy/obstetricsrelated pages listed below.