Umbilical cord blood banking options

The HTA licenses both public and private umbilical cord blood banks in the UK.

This section explains the different types of umbilical cord blood banking. Further information on all HTA licensed cord blood banks, including HTA inspection reports, can be found by searching for the bank’s name in our find an establishment search tool.

Public umbilical cord blood banking

    Donating umbilical cord blood to a public bank is an altruistic act, as donated cord blood is made available to treat potential recipients worldwide. The HTA considers a public umbilical cord blood bank to be a bank that provides umbilical 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 umbilical cord blood banks in the UK: 

    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 umbilical cord blood units on national and international registries. This is to ensure that publicly donated umbilical cord blood units are made available to recipients worldwide. Donation of umbilical 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 umbilical cord blood publicly.

    Private cord blood banking

    Banking umbilical cord blood privately means that the umbilical cord blood is collected and stored for potential future treatments. Privately banked umbilical cord blood is intended to be used only for the donor or a member of the donor’s family. Units of umbilical cord blood banked privately are not listed on national and international registries.

    There are several HTA-licensed private umbilical cord blood banks in the UK (listed below). Private umbilical cord blood banking is paid for by the client such as the family expecting a baby. It can cost in the region of £2000 for 20 years of storage, although costs and payment options vary between private umbilical cord blood banks.

    Generally, private umbilical cord blood banks use third party mobile collection services, staffed by someone trained to draw blood (a phlebotomist). This means that the collection of umbilical cord blood for private banking can take place at most UK hospitals. 

    By clicking on the individual banks you will be taken through to further information about each organisation, including a report of the last HTA site inspection.

    1. Biovault
    2. Cells4Life Group LLP
    3. Future Health Technologies Ltd
    4. Smart Cells International

    Umbilical cord blood banking for a specific medical need

    In very few cases, there may be a specific medical need to bank a child’s umbilical cord blood. In these instances, a consulting physician may be able to arrange the collection and storage of the umbilical cord blood, free of charge through the NHS or Anthony Nolan’s directed donations service. If you feel this could apply to your situation, please consult your physician.