For parents-to-be, the decisions they need to make for the type of birth and all that comes in those often stressful few days are many. Just one of which is whether they want to donate the umbilical cord blood – a process that needs to happen shortly after delivery. Although cord blood is a recent specialty in blood banks, some doctors believe that it might be a potent treatment for difficult diseases such as genetic diseases, cancer, and leukemia in the future, since cord blood contains the same genetic markers as bone marrow.

What is Cord Blood Banking?

Cord blood banking is the process of collecting and storing stem cells found in the umbilical cord after delivery. Once stored in a blood bank, they are able to be used to treat cancer and other life-threatening illnesses like leukemia and anemia in adults when other treatments have failed. Cord blood is similar to bone marrow, where most blood cells are formed. In fact, cord blood contains the same type of stem cells and growth factors as bone marrow.

Despite the importance of cord blood, you should know that there are no guarantees on how healthy or valuable it will be for your family in particular. However, your baby’s cord blood may be a life-saving resource for others in your community or even far away.

What are the Benefits of Cord Blood Banking?

The most significant advantage of storing cord blood is that it’s a rich source of pluripotent stem cells that can be used in multiple treatments, unlike those from bone marrow, which doesn’t produce as many viable cells and must be harvested from healthy, living bone tissue. These cells are sought after for the treatment capabilities they have for serious diseases, which might affect your own family someday or else be used for someone nearby.

Another benefit is that cord blood can be used to treat a family member who needs a stem cell transplant. If your baby’s cord blood is used to treat your family member, this will give you a convenient source of genetically similar stem cells, meaning no one in the family would have to share their stem cells through a bone marrow transplant.

The immune system can be boosted during cancer therapies using stem cells from cord blood. Some studies show that bone marrow stem cells do not perform nearly as well in such a situation. So, in short, cord blood is a richer, more accessible, and better source of stem cells.

This is partly because bone marrow collection is more complex than umbilical cord blood collection. Bone marrow extraction is risky and might be traumatic for the donor, requiring downtime to heal and recover. On the other hand, cord blood can be easily removed while the cord is still attached to the placenta.

Concierge OB/GYN Services in New York City

We know this time of your life, and planning for delivery especially, is full of complicated decisions, including whether to store the cord blood for your loved ones or strangers who might benefit from it later on. For more information about cord blood banking, contact Dr. Alex Tepper, a board-certified OB/GYN specializing in pregnancy, fertility, and reproductive endocrinology. Whether you’re considering conception or looking for 24/7 OB/GYN services for your needs, Dr. Tepper and our team are here to help.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.