When choosing the best cord blood bank, you want a company that is going to be around for the life of your child. A good indication of whether a company will be around in the future is how long they have been in business. Look for a cord blood bank that possesses a strong track record. Founded in 1989, Cryo-Cell is the world's first family cord blood bank, and today, it remains one of the world's largest family cord blood banks, serving clients from 87 countries. Viacord was established in 1993 as a subsidiary of ViaCell, which was purchased in 2007 by PerkinElmer, a large health corporation. Cord Blood Registry was founded in 1995 as a small family company and was purchased in 2015 by AMAG Pharmaceuticals. AMAG sold CBR in 2018 to G.I. Partners, a private equity firm. Americord joined the cord blood–banking industry in 2008 and is working to establish itself and a laboratory.
Control of Processing and Storage
Make sure the cord blood bank you choose has full control over the cord blood–banking process. Some companies like Americord do not perform their own processing or storage. Cryo-Cell, ViaCord and Cord Blood Registry each operate their own processing, testing and cryo-preservation operations for complete control over quality.
How a cord blood bank processes the cord blood is of the most important factors in choosing a cord blood bank. Cryo-Cell, Viacord and Americord use the HES processing method because it has been the industry standard since 1988. In addition, Cryo-Cell offers a premium cord blood–processing method called PrepaCyte®-CB. It is able to deplete up to 99% of the red blood cells (what you don't want) while recovering the highest number of stem cells (what you do want). Cord Blood Registry uses an automated method called AXP. Automated methods help eliminate human error and quicken processing times but can lead to a degradation in overall quality.
Certainly one measure of comparison for cord blood banks is whether their stem cells have been usable in transplants upon thawing. Every sample released by Cryo-Cell has been viable upon thawing. This perfect record allows us to offer the industry’s best Cryo-Cell Cares $100,000 Payment Guarantee. Furthermore, samples processed and banked by Cryo-Cell have been successfully used in many life-saving stem cell transplants. View Transplant Matrix. Viacord, Cord Blood Registry and Americord do not publish their transplant viability records. In addition, some of these cord blood banks have taken part of business deals where they have served as temporary storage facilities for cord blood samples being prepared for transplantation. This leads to confusion about what a cord blood bank can constitute as one of its own transplantations.
Care in Transportation
One often overlooked aspect of the various differences between cord blood banks is the type of care put into their products. Cryo-Cell is the only cord blood bank to give a superlative amount of protection during transportation. We use a collection kit that can safeguard stem cells approximately 30 times longer than kits provided by ViaCord, Cord Blood Registry and Americord. The performance statistics were confirmed through multiple cross-continent tests under extreme temperature variations.
Another area of concern is the type of anti-coagulant used in the cord blood collection bag. Some companies use bags that contain an animal sourced pharmaceutical-grade dry anticoagulant, likely sourced from mucosal tissues of slaughtered meat animals such as porcine (pig) intestines or bovine (cattle) lungs to transport cord blood. This type of anti-coagulant has long been linked to toxicity and allergy reaction among transplant patients. Cryo-Cell, Viacord, and Americord follow FDA recommendations and use bags containing a citrate phosphate dextrose solution to transport cord blood. Cord Blood Registry is one of the few to still use an anti-coagulant not recommended by the FDA.
Foresight and Going the Extra Mile
Another thing that separates cord blood banks is how often it routinely implements measures above and beyond the general industry practices to offer its clients added measures of assurance.
The five-chambered cryo-preservation bag is an example. Only Cryo-Cell and Viacord have invested in the segmented bag in order to provide their families with multiple treatment options.
Licenses and Accreditations
There are certain licenses and accreditations that people should look for when comparing cord blood banks. All cord blood banks should be FDA-registered and cGTP-compliant. In addition to the federal government, several states (California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland) require licensure.
If you want a cord blood bank that has gone the extra mile to ensure the highest standards and protocols, look for accreditation by AABB and the Foundation for the Accreditation for Cellular Therapy (FACT). Only cord blood banks with AABB or FACT accreditation can display their respective logos on their website or printed materials.
In addition to the federal and state licensees, Viacord and Cord Blood Registry are AABB-accredited. Americord uses an AABB-accredited lab but is not accredited itself. Cryo-Cell has accreditation not only from the AABB but also from FACT because we adhere to the most stringent of cord blood quality standards.