Frequently Asked Questions

Cord blood remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following a baby’s birth. It’s a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), currently used to treat 80+ serious medical conditions. Cord tissue refers to the tissue of the umbilical cord, not the blood it contains. Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can transform into many different kinds of cells, including organ, muscle, bone, and cartilage cells. MSCs are not currently being used for FDA-approved treatment, but they’re being investigated in over 300 clinical trials worldwide because of their potential to revolutionize medical practice. Placental tissue is also a rich source of MSCs. Using our proprietary technique, we extract MSCs from the placenta that are a genetic match to the mother and may someday be used therapeutically.
A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to renew itself and differentiate into other kinds of cells. There are many types of stem cells, some of which are more valuable from a medical viewpoint than others. The most therapeutically valuable stem cells today is called hematopoietic stem cells, are found in the greatest numbers in the cord blood of newborns. There are two primary reasons for preserving your newborn baby’s stem cells: (i) access to existing and emerging stem cell therapies if you or a family member needs them; and (ii) the promise of regenerative medicine. Stem cells have been used to treat over 80 serious medical conditions and have the potential to treat conditions that have no cure today.
Cord blood stem cells are in use in medical therapies for more than 80 serious medical conditions, and there are several clinical trials studying possible treatments using cord tissue and placenta tissue stem cells.
Yes, experimental treatments are the subject of research for conditions including autism, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke recovery. Click here for a list of conditions for which stem cell treatments are the subject of ongoing research.
Yes, stem cells can be used to treat adults. The historical challenge was that traditional cord blood banking often only collects enough stem cells to treat someone under 65 pounds. With our proprietary process, Cord Blood 2.0™, Americord is able to collect enough stem cells to treat individuals through adolescence and potentially into adulthood.
For more than ten years, biotechnology companies and cord blood banks have been studying how to expand cord blood stem cells in a lab setting. Unfortunately, this has not yet been proven to be a reliable or viable therapeutic approach. When cultured, stem cells rapidly begin to differentiate into other tissue types, rather than multiplying into more stem cells. Efforts are still underway to make cell multiplication a viable practice, but we feel it would be an irresponsible statement to definitively state that there will be a change in a predictable timeframe.
We think the proven benefits of cord blood stem cell treatments and vast potential of cord and placental tissue stem cell treatments make investing in cord blood a smart choice for any growing family. But, there are some people in circumstances who may have even more reason to choose to bank with us. If you or your spouse/partner have a family history of a disease that is treatable with stem cells, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, we strongly recommend considering cord blood banking. Ethnic minorities and families of mixed ethnicity should consider saving stem cells because these groups traditionally have greater difficulty finding stem cell donors when needed. Many genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia are more common in certain populations. Both of these conditions have been successfully treated with stem cells. Families preparing to adopt a newborn should consider banking stem cells since, if they are ever needed, the cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue stem cells may be the only available genetic source of stem cells for the adopted baby. In addition, depending upon the terms of the adoption, complete family medical histories may not be available and stem cells might provide valuable medical information for the purposes of personalized medicine. Couples using fertility treatments that involve a donor egg and/or sperm should consider saving stem cells because this may be the only opportunity to secure a genetically related sample of stem cells for their child.
Children are genetically unique and so are their stem cells. Investing in stem cells for each child ensures an exact genetic match is available. In addition, it increases the likelihood of a useful match for other family members. Stem cells from a sibling’s cord blood are up to twice as likely to be useful for a transplant as compared to stem cells from a sibling’s bone marrow. Even with identical twins, it is important to save as many stem cells as possible, and it is recommended that stem cells be collected from both babies. In general, the collection volume per baby in multiple births is smaller, so collecting placental and cord blood stem cells for both babies helps ensure an adequate stem cell yield for transplantation if needed.
The tissue of the umbilical cord, (not to be confused with the cord blood that is collected from the umbilical cord), contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are a different type of stem cell than those that are collected from cord blood; they can proliferate into skin, connective tissue, bone, cartilage, and even organ cells. The type of stem cells that exist in great numbers in cord blood are called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and they are blood-based stem cells.
Collecting stem cells is painless, easy, and entirely safe for mother and baby, and does not alter the normal birthing process in any way. Stem cells from the umbilical cord blood are collected after your baby has been born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. The umbilical cord is then routinely thrown away, so choosing to bank cord tissue is also safe. The average time for umbilical cord blood collection is about 5-10 minutes and is performed by your medical professionals.
Yes, stem cells from the umbilical cord blood can be collected after C-section deliveries. Americord uses sterile collection bags, so doctors do not have to use C-section adaptors. Having a sterile collection bag is important during a C-section in order to collect the maximum number of stem cells.
Any doctor or midwife knows how to collect cord blood; it is a simple medical procedure. Easy-to-follow instructions are included in the cord blood collection kit and we recommend sending a copy of the medical consent form to your healthcare provider so that if there are any questions they can call or email us in advance.
Yes. The recommended amount of time to delay cord blood clamping is 1.5-3 minutes. After this time, you should be able to collect the remaining cord blood and still provide the benefits to your baby that come from cord blood clamping.
Companies have only been storing cord blood for the last 20-25 years. There is no evidence to suggest that the stem cells are damaged or degrade over time at liquid nitrogen temperatures (-196 degrees). Americord offers additional years of storage for those that wish to do so.
Cord blood stem cells are manually separated by trained technicians following a modified Rubinstein method with the chemical Hespan. We prefer this method because the entire process can be performed in a “closed” system (a sterile blood bag transfer set), greatly reducing the chances of external contamination while processing.
The cells are extracted and isolated from the cord tissue, tested to ensure viability, and then preserved in vapor nitrogen tanks.
Stem cells from cord blood, cord tissue, and placental tissue each have their own individual containers and are stored separately for individual use. Americord uses specialized cryo-bags, not vials for storage. The cord blood storage cryo-bag container is encased in an outer casing, cooled slowly, and temporarily stored in a quarantine freezer, then moved to a long-term freezer. The freezer uses vapor nitrogen to ensure sterility. The cryo-bags have two attached integral segments plus three separate segments so you can test the samples or take out part of the cord blood segments without thawing the whole collection.
Americord’s minimum threshold for storage is 100 million total nucleated cells to ensure future treatment viability, but the average collection is much higher.
Some clients opt to save even a small cord blood sample since future technology might enable the use of these cells or possibly the expansion of them. Several of our competitors store the collections regardless of these measurements without consideration of these factors, which we do not believe is in the best interest of the client. If the yield is below par and the client decides not to store the sample, Americord does not charge any fee.
Americord does not use Heparin in our cord blood collection bags. Heparin, which acts as an anticoagulant, preventing the formation and extension of blood clots, is not approved by the FDA for cord blood collections. Americord’s FDA-approved cord blood collection bag uses an anti-coagulant called Citrate Phosphate Dextrose (CPD). CPD is approved by the FDA for cord blood collection.
Americord’s corporate headquarters is in New York City.
Americord is registered with the FDA and operates in all 50 states. We are one of only two companies registered to collect stem cells from both cord blood and placental tissue. We also hold special licenses in states that require them, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois. Americord’s laboratory is CLIA Certified, American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) compliant, and complies with all federal and state guidelines and applicable licenses, and has been storing cord blood safely for over a decade.
Americord is the fastest growing company in the cord blood industry and our management team includes seasoned cord blood banking professionals with more than 20 years of combined experience in the industry. As an independent firm, we do not have any parent company or private equity firm influencing the quality of our services.
Americord’s laboratory holds the following licenses: Indiana State Blood Bank License; New York Cord Blood Procurement License; New York Cord Blood Processing License; Maryland Medical Lab Permit; Maryland Department of Health And Mental Hygiene – Tissue Bank Permit; and New Jersey Blood Bank License.
Americord has directly offered cord blood banking to clients since 2008. Our CLIA certified, FDA registered, and AABB compliant laboratory is even more experienced and has been collecting, processing and storing cord blood on behalf of other companies since 1997 and has over 35,000 cord blood units in storage.
Americord has been providing our customers with great service since 2008. Americord’s Medical Director, Robert Dracker, MD, MHA, MBA, is considered one of the founders of the cord blood industry. Dr. Dracker is a leading hematologist and FDA Pediatrics Advisory Committee member, prior Executive Medical Director at ViaCord, and one of the architects of the cord blood stem cell guidelines for NY State Department of Health. We have a history of early adoption of stem cell opportunities. We were one of the first to begin collecting and banking placental tissue when we recognized the growing potential of mesenchymal stem cell treatments. Our proprietary Cord Blood 2.0TM collection method allows us to collect up to twice the number of stem cells as our competition. We know the industry and have watched it grow and innovate. We work hard to ensure that our customers have chosen the right bank.
Americord’s laboratory has released several stem cell units for transplant with a 100% success rate.
We trust the services we provide, which is one of the reasons Americord is one of just a few cord blood banks that offers a quality guarantee—and our guarantee is one of the highest. If your child’s stored cord blood is used in a stem cell transplant and fails to engraft, Americord will pay up to $110,000 to defray the cost of the procurement of an alternate stem cell source if medically indicated. See terms and conditions for details.
You can prepay additional storage with Americord for $1,999 per product per 20 years of storage.
After your baby is born and the stem cell collection has been sent to our laboratory, we will send you a Confirmation of Storage, certifying that your collection is viable and stored properly. Only then will you be charged.
Yes! If you refer a friend who chooses to bank with us, we’ll give them $100 off their order and we’ll send you a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Just have your friend enter your name in the comments field when she completes the online enrollment, or mention it to our representative when enrolling over the phone.
Please call us at 866.503.6005 and we will provide you with an address to return the kit.
When you arrive at the hospital, remind labor and delivery staff that you are saving your cord blood and give them the Americord 3-in-1 Collection Kit. After the baby is born, your doctor will collect the cord blood and give the kit back to you or to a designated family member.
After your baby is born, call the phone number on the Americord 3-in-1 Collection Kit (our main number) to schedule a pickup by our medical courier. The courier will confirm the hospital location and pick up the kit from your bedside, usually within two-hour window.
Fact: Thousands of stem cell transplants using one’s own stem cells are performed every year for medical conditions such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and many solid tumors. It is true that certain medical conditions that can be treated with HSCs are genetic and thus cannot be treated with one’s own cells, but there are many conditions where that is not the case and one’s own cord blood can be used for treatment. Research from the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that even with early-onset disease (within twelve months of birth), the child’s stem cells are still recommended for use in transplantation. Using your own stem cells has many advantages as a transplant source, including no risk of graft vs. host disease (GvHD—a leading cause of death for transplant patients), immediate availability, and low risk of the cells being contaminated with disease.
Fact: Considering that the cause of most cancers is unknown and that the science of stem cell therapy is expanding rapidly, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact odds that a family will use the cord blood or benefit from new treatments. One scientific study suggests that the odds of having a hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs, the type of stem cell found in cord blood and bone marrow) transplant could rise to as high as 1 in 102 with medical advances and a growing practice of cord blood banking. That is almost 1% of the entire population being treated before the great potential in advances in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is even accounted for. With no known expiration date for banked stem cells, the odds of a valuable application of these rare cells can only increase. SOURCE: “Lifetime Probabilities of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in the U.S.” Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, The Official Journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
Fact: There are a few key reasons to choose a private bank like Americord over a public banking option. Presently, none of the public banks are able to release mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from the cord or placental tissue for use. The ability to successfully store and extract these cells has only become feasible comparatively recently and public banks have not caught up with the practice. These cells possess some of the greatest potential for medical treatment advancement, but public banks cannot facilitate their use. A donation to a public bank means that there is no guarantee your children can get their own stem cells back if they ever have need for a stem cell transplant. 70% of those waiting for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant cannot find a matching donor. And a person who needs stem cell treatments is more likely to have positive, safe results if they receive their own cells or cells from a related donor (ideally a sibling). According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, the one-year survival rate for patients treated with a sibling’s stem cells is approximately 63 percent. With stem cells from an unrelated donor, the survival rate drops to 29 percent. In addition, unrelated stem cells also put the patient at a much greater risk for developing potentially fatal GvHD (20 percent vs. 5 percent). Multiple studies have shown that more than half of potential cord blood donors are not eligible for public donation. Depending on the public bank, only 5-40% of donations are actually accepted. That means that the valuable resources that are a definitive match for your child are not actually getting to someone in need. Even if the donated stem cells are accepted, they are prohibitively expensive to use. The average cost of withdrawing a single unit of stem cells from a public cord blood bank is $36,000. With a private bank like Americord, once you pay to bank the cells, you can withdraw them for free at any time.
Fact: The cord blood and placenta stem cells are normally discarded with the umbilical cord after it is clamped and cut. When you ask to have your baby’s cord blood and placenta collected, the only change from the normal procedure is that after birth, after the cord is cut, the baby’s cord blood and placenta is collected rather than thrown away. Collections generally take place after the placenta has delivered. For those concerned with delayed cord clamping practices, the process of collecting the cord blood is the exact same and entirely compatible. Once the cord is eventually clamped and cut, the remaining blood that did not enter the newborn is collected. No valuable resources are wasted.

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What Parents Who Banked Have to Say

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“I had a million questions about cord blood banking. The staff at Americord answered them all and even explained complicated things about stem cells in plain language. They also walked me through the different options and payment plans and helped me find the one that was right for me.”

Sameer B.
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“When I began researching cord blood banks, I wanted to find the one with the highest standards – even if that meant I had to pay more. What a great surprise to find out that I could get the best service and the highest quality at half the price with Americord!”
Heather R.
“We decided to save our baby’s stem cells because it seems like every day there are new treatments for diseases that used to be incurable. We chose Americord because it is constantly investing in innovations in stem cell preservation and it offers cord blood products that are not available from other companies.”
“Given the advances in genetic research and the potential for life saving or possibly advancing technology, I felt it would be an investment in our child’s health to save his cord blood. After shopping around, Americord offers the most value and was extremely customer friendly. This was important to me, being a first time mother. I am recommending Americord to all of my friends.”