Cord Blood Collection Process

What is the Cord Blood Collection Process?

  • Cord blood collection is a completely painless procedure that does not interfere with the birth or with mother-and-child bonding following the delivery. There is no risk to either the mother or baby.
  • Cord blood is only collected after the baby is born and the cord is clamped and cut. A needle is inserted into one of the veins in the umbilical cord, allowing the blood to flow through tubing into a collection bag.
  • Cord blood collection does not require Blood Center staff to be present during the baby’s delivery.
  • Blood samples from the baby’s mother are needed to test for infectious diseases. No blood is taken from the baby.
  • Mothers who donate their baby’s cord blood complete a consent form and health history questionnaire.
  • There is no cost to you for donating.
  • After the cord blood unit leaves the collection hospital, it is sent to our downtown Seattle location.
  • It is assigned a unique donor ID number (to ensure the donor’s confidentiality)
  • It is weighed and sampled, to determine if it meets minimum volume and cell count requirements
  • Units meeting all criteria are then connected to an automated processing machine.
  • The individual cord blood unit is separated into 3 different components.
  • A small sample of the red blood cells is archived for future testing and another sample is sent to test for bacterial growth.
  • The buffy coat contains the stem cells and is the portion that will be frozen and eventually used for patient transplant
  • A small amount of plasma is archived for future testing and another sample is sent to test for bacterial growth.
  • After slowly adding a cryoprotectant to keep the cells safe during the freezing process, the cord blood unit is ready to be frozen.
  • The cord blood unit is placed into a metal cartridge.
  • The cartridge is then placed into a small freezer, where a computer program regulates the freezing rate.
  • The cartridge, containing the now frozen cord blood unit, is placed into one of the storage racks that is kept in the large liquid nitrogen freezer.
  • The cord blood unit will remain frozen until a compatible recipient is located.

Your gift of blood, time or money saves lives.