According to the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Banking, some of the conditions cord blood cells are routinely used to treat include these:
- acute and chronic leukemias
- myelodysplastic syndromes (sometimes called pre-leukemia)
- inherited red cell abnormalities (including Cooley's anemia and sickle cell disease)
- severe anemias
- inherited platelet abnormalities
- cancers in the bone marrow
So what really happens if you do need to retrieve your child's banked cord blood? In a time filled with concern for your child's health, the process of retrieving the banked cord blood fortunately is not too complicated.
How Stored Cord Blood Is Accessed
Your child's physician will determine whether the cord blood is needed to treat the disease or condition, as well as what amount of the frozen unit will be transplanted. He or she then contacts the cord blood bank where the blood is stored to request the unit be released.
From the time the request is made by the physician, "the entire release process, which is guided by federal and state regulatory guidelines and mandatory testing, typically takes about one to two weeks," says David Zitlow, senior vice president for corporate communications and public affairs at Cord Blood Registry (CBR).
CBR is one of the largest private cord blood banks in the world, releasing an average of one unit per week for infusion. "In 2008, we've had a total of 27 transplants to date [in mid-September]. Eighty-five percent have been autologous [transferred from the same individual's body]," says Zitlow.
Most private cord blood banks do not directly charge clients for releasing the cord blood to a transplant center. However, it does cost money to prepare the shipment and ship it to the transplant center or hospital. These fees are typically charged to the transplant center.