About Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

What is Umbilical Cord Banking?

Umbilical cord blood banking, a concept first implemented in the last decade of the 20th century, refers to the collection and storage of cord blood for use by the family (directed / private banking) or the public (donation / public banking).

Public Banking

Cord blood that is donated, or banked for public use, has the potential to save a life in two ways: (1) directly, by providing a transplant to a patient in need, and (2) indirectly, by providing much-needed source for research in the development of novel therapeutic approaches (as well as the improvment of existing therapies). Public banking may be defined by the following attributes:

  • no financial cost to the family
  • cord blood added to the national registry
  • family relinquishes access to baby’s cord blood
  • increased availability of a valuable resource to ethnically diverse recipient populations and/or to research endeavors

Private Banking

Families also have the option to privately bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood, which they arrange for in advance of the expected due date. In most cases of private banking, the cord blood collection is facilitated by a private bank and stored for future use by the family. Key attributes of private banking include:

  • collection / processing cost of $1300 - $2200 to family
  • annual storage fee of $125-300
  • family is guaranteed access to baby’s cord blood
  • typically advertised to consumers as ‘biological insurance’ 


Both the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend private banking only when there is knowledge of a full sibling who can benefit from a cord blood transplant; on the other hand, privately banking for ‘biological insurance’ is not recommended by either entity.