Donating cord blood to a public bank is an altruistic act, as donated cord blood is made available to treat or cure potential recipients worldwide. The HTA considers a public cord blood bank to be a bank that provides cord blood units for use to the medical community through established national and international registries listed on the BMDW database. The BMDW expects participating registries to adhere to the Standards, Guidelines and Recommendations of the World Marrow Donor Association and participating cord blood banks are expected to adhere to the NETCORD/FACT Standards or equivalent standards.
There are two public cord blood banks in the UK: the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank and the NHS Cord Blood Bank. Each bank operates independently, but both use the same quality and safety standards set by the HTA and NetCord-FACT.
The UK public banks, along with public banks in other countries, list their cord blood units on national and international registries. This is to ensure that publicly donated cord blood units are made available to recipients worldwide. Treating hospitals search the registries to find cord blood units for recipients. Donation of cord blood to a public bank is free of charge and donors are not paid. Only women giving birth at certain hospitals where one of these public banks operates are able to donate cord blood publicly.