Skip to main content

Umbilical cord FAQs

What is cord blood?

It’s the blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord after a woman has given birth.

Cord blood contains lots of stem cells, which can be used in lifesaving transplants for people with blood cancers or disorders.

Anthony Nolan collects cord blood in five hospitals in London, Manchester, Leicester. Collection only happens after the birth, when the baby is safely delivered. It’s totally risk-free for mothers and newborns.

Why is cord blood particularly useful?

Stem cells for transplants can come from adults’ blood or bone marrow, as well as from cord blood.

But cord blood transplants have lots of advantages.

Getting adult donations is a long process. If we find someone a match on our register, we have to do more tests on the potential donor, and it takes time to organise the donation and transplant.

Cord blood is banked in our cell therapy centre in Nottingham and is available immediately, for people in desperate need.

Also, donors and recipients don’t need to be an exact match, as the stem cells in cord blood aren’t so mature and can develop to suit their recipient. That means it’s easier to find matches. To find out more about cord please visit this site.

How much cord blood do you collect?

We’re aiming to grow our cord blood bank to 10,000 cord blood units by 2021. A bank this size would mean 80% of people who need transplants could find a match. At the moment, only half get the match they so desperately need.

What diseases can cord blood treat?

Life-threatening conditions, including:

  • leukaemia
  • immune-deficiency illnesses, like aplastic anaemia and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)
  • blood cell production disorders, such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma
  • haematological malignancies, like thalassemia major
  • congenital metabolic disorders, like Hurler/Hunter syndrome and Duncan’s syndrome.