Currently, it costs a public cord blood bank more than $4,000 to collect, test, and process a unit of cord blood for storage. In order to accept donations at no cost, public banks require income to support themselves.
This income can come from:
- Federal funding
- Selling donated cord blood units for research
- Releasing cord blood units for transplantation
- Combining public and private cord blood banking services into a “hybrid model”
- All of the above
While there is no fee charged to a donor to collect, process, and store a newborn’s cord blood, some public banks do require other standards, such as HIV testing. If an individual’s health insurance does not cover this cost, the donor may be responsible.
Public banks also charge USD $15,000 to $35,000 if unit gets provided for transplantation to a patient at a future point in time. This is a stable and predictable method by which public banks cover their operating costs.
Moreover, because units are preserved for potential transplantation into another human being, not every woman can donate her newborn’s cord blood. All donations intended for transplant require a thorough family medical history, although some public banks will preserve cord blood not suitable for transplant for research purposes, in an effort to support medical advances within the field.
Currently, Be The Match ®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), manages the largest and most diverse marrow registry worldwide. Its website has a list of participating hospitals that can accept cord blood donations spread across 22 different states. To date, the program has facilitated more than 11,000 unrelated cord blood transplants worldwide.