Is it always possible to process and store cord blood?

The volume of cord blood collected after delivery is a key factor in deciding whether to discard the unit or proceed with processing and storage. Low volume cord blood units are discarded for the simple reason that they do not result in a sufficient number of stem cells. Transplantation with a small number of stem cells is usually ineffective (low probability of engraftment). Low volume cord blood is usually caused by early delivery (short gestation period), the characteristics and condition of the umbilical cord and the placenta, or the weight of the baby.

Another important consideration as to whether a unit should be discarded or banked is the viability of the collected stem cells (i.e. the percentage of cells that remain alive). Cell viability is influenced by how quickly we are able to process the cord blood after delivery. The faster we can transport the cord blood from the delivery room to the laboratory and the faster we can start the processing, the more chances we have to obtain a unit with high cell viability. Stem-Health Hellas measures and records the cell viability of every unit that is ultimately stored (pre-freezing and post-thawing). These tests are conducted to validate the laboratory processes and are an integral part of the quality control processes established by FACT-NetCord.


The units are also examined for possible microbial contamination. We need to know if a unit is contaminated because, in some cases, a microbial contamination may affect the quality of the graft and its future use. If an infectious disease is detected in the blood of the mother the unit may not be suitable for storing (it depends on the specificity of the disease).