Saving lives here and around the world with Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank

Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of a healthy baby. It is rich in blood stem cells and can be used to treat more than 80 diseases and disorders, including cancers, aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease. In Canada, mothers-to-be have the option to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood to Canadian Blood Services' Cord Blood Bank, thereby offering hope to thousands of patients in Canada and across the globe.

Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is a national, publicly funded and accountable cord blood bank that recruits healthy, eligible volunteer mothers delivering at designated hospitals and collects, tests and stores umbilical cord blood. These cord blood units are lifesaving products that can be provided to Canadian and international patients through Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry.

Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry is a member of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) — an international network of registries and cord blood banks that share a global database where all potential donors and cord blood units are listed, providing access to over 38 million donors and nearly a million cord blood units to support patients in need of stem cell transplants.

Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank operates on behalf of provincial and territorial ministries of health, with regular inspections by our regulator, Health Canada. Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank has also successfully achieved and maintains accreditation through AABB and NetCord-FACT accrediting bodies.

What distinguishes our public cord blood bank from private cord banks?

  • Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is a publicly funded, national program that collects and stores eligible blood stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta of babies delivered at four designated hospitals: The Ottawa Hospital General Campus; Brampton Civic Hospital, Lois Hole Hospital for Women and the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre.
  • There is no cost to mothers who donate cord blood to Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank. All cord blood donations are made through the generosity of each individual donor.
  • There is also no ongoing cost to mothers and families to store their cord blood, unlike private banks, where people pay to store their cord blood for their child’s potential use in the future. It is worth noting that most doctors do not encourage this. The chance of a privately banked cord blood unit being used is less than one per cent. In many cases, donor stem cells are a more suitable treatment than stem cells from the patient’s own cord blood.
  • Our current collection locations in Ottawa, Brampton (GTA), Edmonton and Vancouver allow us to focus on building an inventory of cord blood units that is reflective of Canada’s diversity.
  • Donating cord blood to Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank makes potentially lifesaving stem cells available to any patient in Canada or internationally who needs a transplant. Donors help to increase the volume and diversity of cord blood units available, making it easier for patients to find matches.

Learn more about public cord blood banking versus private banking.