Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

The HTA's role in cord blood banking

Since 5 July 2008, the HTA has regulated the collection, testing, processing, storage, distribution, import and export of cord blood. In the UK these are ‘licensable activities’ and can only lawfully take place under an HTA licence. Further information on HTA licensing can be found here.

We have created this guide to help parents to make informed choices about cord blood banking. It has been developed through engagement with cord blood experts and centres on our ‘Three key messages about cord blood banking’.

Three key messages about cord blood banking

1. CONSENT: In order for cord blood to be collected for banking, the mother must give her consent. The cord blood bank, or someone acting on its behalf under a formal legal agreement, must clearly explain the options, benefits and risks to the mother. 

2. SAFETY: All ‘licensable activities’ must be carried out by properly trained professionals on appropriate premises in a way that minimises the risks to the mother, the child, or any patient receiving the cord blood unit.

3. QUALITY: All HTA-licensed cord blood banks must meet the HTA’s minimum standards for quality. It is important to note that beyond, these minimum standards practices can vary between cord blood banks.

See the FAQs for more information about consent, and safety and quality considerations for cord blood banking.