The cord blood banking industry first emerged in the early 1990’s with the formation of three private cord blood banks within the United States, Cord Blood Registry, Cryo-Cell, and Viacord, all of which are AABB accredited banks. Over the past couple decades, cord blood banks have since become common across North American, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
There are a few key differences that now exist among cord blood banks. First, there is the divide between private and public cord blood banking, in which private companies serve individual families, while public banks serve the broader population. Second, some cord blood banks receive only units from nearby hospitals and birthing centers, while others allow mail-in units from a diverse geographic region.
There is also variation in the services offered by private cord blood banks, with cord tissue storage emerging as a commercial service in 2008, when a Taiwanese company, HealthBanks Biotech Company Ltd., began offering the service – making it the first company worldwide to do so.
HealthBaby, a Hong Kong based company subsequently launched the service in 2009, and another Hong Kong based company, Cryolife, added the service in 2009 as well. As such, Asia is recognized as the geographic region within which umbilical cord tissue preservation first became a prevalent service.
Within the United States, the Cord Blood Registry was the first private company to begin offering cord tissue storage to complement its cord blood banking services, as it added the service in July of 2010.
This trend of cord tissue storage has since had a significant impact on the cord blood banking industry, with over half of U.S. companies now offering the service.
Worldwide, cord tissue storage has become common as well, although the market penetration rates are not as high as within the United States.
Because cord tissue storage first emerged within Asia, then within the United States, and finally within other regions of the world, it identifies why cord blood banks should track global trends. Medical, technical, and strategic advances within one region of the world move almost instantaneously from region to region.
Other Types of Perinatal Stem Cell Storage
In addition, some cord blood banks also offer related services, to include placental banking (LifebankUSA), and menstrual stem cell banking (Cryo-Cell International). Some cord blood banks even act as diversified stem cell biobanks, offering processing and storage services for a wide range of adult stem cell types, to include:
- Adipose-derived stem cells
- Bone marrow derived stem cells
- Dental pulp stem cells
- And more
An example of this diversified model of stem cell biobanking is the cord blood bank Precious Cells, based in London, United Kingdom.
Finally, there is significant variation in the quality, pricing, and guarantees promised by individual cord blood banks.
Key Variables with the Cord Blood Banking Industry
In summary, there are several variables that now exist within the cord blood banking industry, which include:
- Public vs. private cord blood storage
- Collection of cord blood units from local hospital versus mail-in donations
- Variation in services offered, including the storage of cord blood, cord tissue, placental tissue, menstrual stem cells, and more
- Variation in the quality, pricing, and guarantees promised by cord blood banks
To learn more, view the the “Complete 2015-16 Global Cord Blood Banking Industry Report.”