Cord Blood

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Standards, Accreditation and Manufacturing

Cord Blood Donation is Carefully Regulated

Canadian Blood Services' Cord Blood Bank follows Health Canada regulations to make sure cord blood is collected safely and effectively.

Specifically, Canadian Blood Services' Cord Blood Bank complies with Health Canada’s Human Cells, Tissues and Organs for Transplantation Regulations and applicable Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards. It is also included in the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) accreditation granted to the OneMatch program.

AABB Accredited logoCanadian Blood Services' Cord Blood Bank is accredited by AABB - an organization committed to advancing transfusion and cellular therapies worldwide. We are also seeking accreditation through the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT).

How Cord Blood is Handled


Donations are sent to our manufacturing facility for assessment, processing, testing and storage (cryopreservation). We remove excess red blood cells and plasma using the Sepax processing system. This reduces the volume of each cord blood unit while keeping blood-forming stem cells. Those cells are combined with the dimethyl sulfoxide, a preservative that protects them from damage during freezing.


Cryoprotected cells are transferred to a specially designed freezer bag and sealed in an overwrap bag for individual quarantine in a BioArchive freezer. The BioArchive is a robotic freezer that controls and monitors the rate of freezing. The cord blood unit is cooled to approximately -50 degrees Celsius over 25 minutes to minimize damage to the cells.


Once cooled, the cord blood unit is submerged and stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius. This allows them to be banked for a long period of time — and made available to Canadian and international patients who need stem cell transplants. While it is still not known exactly how long cord blood can be stored in liquid nitrogen, there are examples of cord blood stem cells being transplanted after 13 years without any deterioration in quality. With this knowledge — and by staying directly involved with the medical community — Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank confidently provides the highest-quality cord blood stem cells for transplantation.