Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is now officially launched

Media are invited to join us on June 25 for a first-hand look at Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank.

When: June 25, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Where: 40 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, Ontario

Who:    Heidi Elmoazzen, Director, Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank

National resource now available for Canadians
in need of stem cells


(OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, a national, public health-care resource has been officially launched.  Expectant mothers who give birth at participating hospitals can now help build an ethnically diverse stem cell bank in Canada by donating their baby’s cord blood.

Five hospital sites in four cities – Ottawa (2), Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver have partnered with Canadian Blood Services to build this program. “This is a significant achievement for the Canadian health-care system,” said Dr. Graham Sher, Canadian Blood Services chief executive officer. “Through our hospital partners, we are able to provide expectant mothers the opportunity to donate to a national public cord blood bank; increasing the chances for patients who need a stem cell transplant to find a match.”

Cord blood is a rich source of blood forming stem cells that can be used in the treatment of over 80 diseases and disorders. With the number of Canadian patients waiting to receive a stem cell transplant tripling over the last five years, demand for stem cells has been growing at a steady rate.

On any given day, nearly 1,000 Canadians are in need of a stem cell donor and many of these patients are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.  With Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank we are increasing the opportunities for these patients to find a stem cell match, as well as contributing to the international database for patients around the world.  Approximately 25 per cent of people requiring a stem cell transplant are able to find a match within their own family – the other 75 per cent must look outside their families for an unrelated donor.  Even with access to over 635,000 publicly - banked cord blood units and over 25.5 million adult donors, unfortunately, half of the patients in Canada requiring a stem cell donor are without a match.   

In March 2011, provincial and territorial ministries of health (except Quebec) committed to the establishment of an ethnically diverse, national, publicly-funded stem cell bank from umbilical cord blood. A $48 million investment was made of which Canadian Blood Services committed to raising $12.5 million in public funding. To fulfill the commitment and make the national public cord blood bank a reality, Canadian Blood Services embarked on its first fundraising campaign, the Campaign For All Canadians.  Through the generosity of individuals and corporations across Canada, over $12.5 million dollars was raised.  


Quick Facts

  • Our partnering hospitals are:
    • The Ottawa Hospital General Campus and Civic Campus,
    • William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital,
    • Alberta Health Services’ Lois Hole Hospital for Women in Edmonton, and
    • BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre in Vancouver.
  • The above hospitals are now collecting cord blood donations to be banked publically from expectant mothers who deliver in these locations.
  • Cord blood stem cells are less mature than adult stem cells from bone marrow or peripheral blood which means that cord blood stem cells do not necessarily require the donor and patient to be a perfect match.
  • Approximately 75 per cent of patients rely on the generosity of an unrelated stem cell donor to save their life.
  • Blood stem cells are immature cells that give rise to the cells found in the bloodstream: red blood cells for oxygen transportation, platelets for blood clotting and white blood cells for fighting infections.
  • Mothers delivering at The Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus or General Campus) are given the option to consent to donate their baby’s cord blood for research if the cord blood unit does not qualify to be banked.

Associated Resources

Image of cord blood unit package
Image of woman handling cord blood unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment
Handling of vails containing cord blood
Labelling of cord blood unit


What is cord blood?

Associated Links