What is umbilical cord blood?
Long considered biological waste, the blood in the umbilical cord is now recognized as a valuable source of stem cells.
Stem cells from umbilical cord blood help improve treatments for persons with such serious illnesses as leukemia, anemia and medullary aplasia (in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells).
Cord blood is a particularly beneficial therapeutic option for children who require a stem cell transplant.
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Umbilical cord blood is collected at Héma-Québec’s partner hospitals with the consent of the mothers who have registered with the Bank. The collection of umbilical cord blood requires 3 to 5 minutes and is safe for the child and the mother. The cord blood is collected after the birth of the child, once the umbilical cord is cut, but before placental expulsion. The mother and the child feel no effect. If this cord blood is not collected, it is discarded as biomedical waste, as is the placenta.
The cord blood collected is treated and tested in our laboratories. If the cord blood sample meets all of the standards, we will freeze it until it is needed by a stem cell transplant candidate. Cord blood has a lifespan of at least 15 years when frozen.
The umbilical cord blood donations that do not qualify for the Bank will be stored for research purposes if the mothers involved give their consent.