Evaluating Cord Blood Banking Facilities
You should count on doing some research to find a cord blood bank that suits your needs. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), where Dr. Szczepiorkowski serves as chair of the Cellular Therapy Standards Committee, evaluates and accredits many of the nation's private and public cord blood banks. He recommends an independent parent-operated Web site, www.parentsguidecordblood.com, as a good starting point for objective information. He also suggests a number of questions parents might ask:
Are you accredited by AABB or some other accrediting body? Accreditation is not required, Szczepiorkowski notes, but voluntary accreditation shows the company has met some set quality standards.
How do you prepare and store the sample? The AABB suggests that the white blood cells be isolated first and that the sample be stored in plastic bags, not vials, to lower the risk of contamination (although experts debate this issue).
How much does it cost? Understandably, says Dr. Szczepiorkowski, the expense may make the decision for you. He also notes that higher-priced banks are not necessarily better in quality.
How quickly will the cord blood be transported to your facility? The quicker the better, says Szczepiorkowski, although the issue of timing is still a gray area. Ideally, the cord blood sample should arrive at the facility within 24 to 48 hours.