Types of storage (Public and Private)
Many countries in the world have government-funded public cord blood banks. Public cord blood banks depend on parents to donate their newborn baby’s cord blood stem cells into a public bio-archive. These stem cells are then made available to any needy patient for use as treatment options. Public stem cell banks offer great benefits to the community and validate the merit of storing cord blood stem cells since they are mainly government-funded. However, there are limitations to public stem cell banks.
The table below shows some of the main differences between public and private cord blood banks:
Public Cord Blood Banks
- Free of charge, and dependant on voluntary donors for cord blood stem cells.
- Once donated, the cord blood units will be put into a public pool. There is no guarantee that the donated stem cells will be available to the same donor at a later stage if the donor needs it.
- Like other human cells, stem cells are built from a complex DNA sequence that is mapped genetically at birth. One person’s DNA sequence is different from another, and even more so if they do not come from the same family. An incompatible stem cell transplant may cause the “Graft Vs Host” disease.
- A DNA-sequencing procedure called HLA Typing needs to be carried out in order to build up the database of genetic information, which enables the matching of donated stem cells to needy patients.
- Unfortunately, HLA Typing is an expensive procedure that many public cord blood banks cannot afford to perform for every sample of cord blood collected.
Private Cord Blood Banks (such as Cellsafe)
- Charges upfront and annual fees.
- Samples are exclusively maintained for the client’s use only.
- Privately stored stem cells are a perfect match to the donor (i.e. your newborn baby).
- There’s a greater than 25% chance that the stem cells are compatible with your newborn’s siblings. This simply means you could potentially use them for the treatment of family members.
- Since the stem cells are privately stored exclusively for your child or family, HLA Typing is only necessary when the stem cells are to be used by a recipient other than the originating child himself/herself.