Frequently Asked Questions

With over 30,000 cord blood treatments worldwide to date, many parents want to know more. 4 Our FAQs are here to help you make sense of it all. Find answers to your questions on all things cord blood banking, cord tissue banking, and ViaCord's state-of-the-art laboratory. 
Click on a topic below to open FAQs. Don’t see your answer? Give us a call.

Cord Blood

  1. What is cord blood?

    Cord blood, or umbilical cord blood, is the blood remaining in your child's umbilical cord following birth.  It is a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells that can only be collected at the time of birth.

  2. How are cord blood stem cells used in medicine?

    Cord blood stem cells are used therapeutically in transplants to help cure, treat and repair damaged blood and immune systems. This is especially valuable for treating damage caused by radiation or chemotherapy. Cord blood stem cells are being studied for potential use in regenerative medicine. The hope is that these cells will one day be used to help stimulate and guide the body's own repair system to heal damaged tissue and organs.

  3. How and when is cord blood collected?

    Whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, the process of collecting your newborn baby’s stem cells is a safe, painless procedure that won’t disrupt you, your baby, or your birth plan. After your baby is born, your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut. That’s when your caregiver will insert the collection needle into the cord to collect the remaining blood. (If cord blood isn’t collected, it’s generally discarded as medical waste.) If you’ve decided to bank your baby’s cord tissue, the umbilical cord will be cleaned and placed in a special storage cup. From start to finish, the cord blood collection process takes about five minutes. Three tubes of maternal blood are also drawn for testing.

  4. Can I delay cord clamping and still collect cord blood?

    Yes. The timing of umbilical cord clamping is a personal decision that should be discussed with your OB or midwife.  The process of cord blood collection begins immediately after the cord is clamped and cut – whenever that may be.  Talk to your doctor or midwife and be sure to collect as much cord blood as you can after clamping. Also, you may want to consider cord tissue collection as a separate or additional option. For more details, read our delayed cord clamping blog post.

  5. What does your service include?

    When you choose ViaCord you benefit from both high quality customer service and leading edge science. Our comprehensive service includes 24-hour on-call staff,  a medical courier service to pick up and transport your collection kit to our lab, an FDA-approved cord blood collection bag, and state-of-the-art processing and storage. Learn more about ViaCord's comprehensive service. 

  6. Is your collection bag FDA-approved?

    ViaCord uses the only Heparin-Free, FDA-approved cord blood collection bag. Our collection bag is designed to maximize collection volume and minimize contamination. Ultimately, this promotes a high quality of collected stem cells for our customers.

  7. How does a c-section affect collection?

    The collection process proceeds essentially the same way with a cesarean section as it would in a natural birth. ViaCord provides an FDA-approved, pre-loaded cord blood collection bag for use in sterile C-sections.

  8. Is there any risk to my child or myself?

    There is no risk to mother or baby during the cord blood collection process. The process of collecting your newborn baby’s umbilical cord stem cells is a safe, painless procedure that won’t disrupt you, your baby, or your birth plan. 

  9. How long will the cells remain viable in the kit after collection?

    The cells in your cord blood sample should be processed and cryogenically preserved within 48 hours. That’s why it is important to contact the medical courier as soon as possible after collection to arrange for delivery. 

  10. Can I donate my child’s cord blood to ViaCord?

    No. However, the National Institutes of Health has committed $30 million to establish three national public donation banks. Patients who deliver babies at these specific hospitals may donate their children's cord blood to the public bank for use by any individual who needs a stem cell transplant. These banks are an important supplement to the National Marrow Donor Program since many families cannot find a match within the family or do not have their cord blood privately banked. However, those who donate their cord blood to a public bank are not guaranteed that it will be available if it is ever needed by their family. Parents should also be aware that approximately 70% of stem cells donated to the public banking system are discarded prior to storage.10

Cord Tissue

  1. What are cord tissue stem cells?

    Many expectant parents today are familiar with cord blood banking – the collection and cryopreservation of stem cells extracted from the umbilical cord blood at birth. ViaCord also offers parents the opportunity to extract and cryopreserve the stem cells found in the umbilical cord tissue including the perivascular regions - a ViaCord Exclusive.12 Umbilical cord tissue is an additional source and an abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are expected to play a critical role in the treatment of disease and are being studied in great detail for their regenerative properties in cartilage, muscle, and nerve cells.

  2. How is the umbilical cord tissue collected and does it hurt?

    As with cord blood, the collection process is easy and painless. First, your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and the cord blood is collected. Your health care professional will then collect as much of the umbilical cord tissue as possible and place it into the sterile, protective cup provided in your ViaCord collection kit.

  3. What diseases are being treated with stem cells (MSCs) found in cord tissue?

    Currently, there have been no medical treatments in humans using MSCs. All research using cord tissue stem cells is in pre-clinical studies, and there are no guarantees that therapies will be developed in the future. You can learn more about this emerging research by visiting our Treatments & Research section.

  4. What is the process for storing cord tissue?

    The same freezing process is used for both cord blood stem cells and cord tissue stem cells. What's unique is at ViaCord we extract the stem cells, prior to cryopreservation. This extra step to extract the cells first, provides families with a treatment-ready source of stem cells if they are ever needed.

Processing & Storage

  1. How does cord blood get from my delivery room to your processing lab?

    After your baby's cord blood is collected, simply call ViaCord's customer service center at 800-998-4226 to review the packaging and labeling details. This important step ensures the integrity and identity of the cord blood unit prior to transport. ViaCord will arrange for a medical courier to pick the unit up from your hospital bedside and facilitate transportation to the ViaCord Processing Laboratory. Our state-of-the-art processing and cryopreservation facility is open seven days a week, weekends, and holidays.  We will contact you by phone, email and text message to let you know that your baby's cord blood has arrived safely.

  2. What is the process once the collection arrives at the lab?

    Upon arrival of your baby's cord blood collection, our lab will conduct tests to provide an assessment of the total volume collected and the concentration of stem cells, as well as check for bacterial and fungal contamination. In addition, the mother's blood samples will be tested for infectious diseases. After testing, your baby's cord blood unit is cryopreserved and stored at ≤ -170º Celsius.

  3. How many collections have you banked?

    To date, ViaCord has banked the cord blood of more than 300,000 newborns. And 270+ collections have been used in treatment and clinical trials.

  4. How many ViaCord collections have been used in treatment?

    270+ have been processed and released by ViaCord and CHORI for use in treatment and clinical trials.  Click here to see the full list of transplants and infusions.

  5. What do I do if I need to use our baby's stored cord blood?

    This is a medical decision that needs to be made by the patient’s physician. He or she will determine if stem cell transplantation is a viable treatment option. Contact the physician's office directly so they are aware that your family has preserved umbilical cord blood stem cells. If the physician is interested in pursuing this course of treatment he or she needs to contact ViaCord directly at 800-998-4226. Read more about Using Cord Blood.

Billing FAQs

  1. How can I find out what payment plan I signed up for?

    To confirm your payment plan selection, just call our finance department at 800-991-2483 or refer to your welcome letter. If you’re outside the United States, please call 617-914-3400.

  2. When will I be charged?

    There is no payment due until the time of delivery. Annual storage fees are due each year during the month of your child's birthday.

  3. Will I receive an invoice when payments are due or will my credit card simply be charged?

    Your credit card will be charged automatically according to the payment plan you selected at the time of enrollment. A $150 fee will be charged if service is discontinued prior to delivery. Please be aware some OBs charge a fee to collect cord blood. You should discuss this matter with your caregiver prior to delivery.

  4. When is my annual storage fee due?

    Your annual storage fee is due each year during the month of your child's birthday. If you have provided a credit card at the time of enrollment, ViaCord will automatically charge your annual fee to the card we have on file. You will also receive a notification prior to billing so you may plan ahead or take advantage of one of our money-saving prepaid storage plans.

  5. Can I prepay the annual storage fees?

    Yes, this is a great option for people who appreciate the savings value as well as convenience of not having to think about making annual payments. You have two options: 1) You can prepay 25 years of storage and save $825 or, 2) you can prepay 20 years and save $525. Simply call us at 800-991-2483 and a representative will help you start saving today. If you’re outside the United States, please call 617-914-3400.

  6. Is there a cost to retrieve my baby's stem cells?

    ViaCord arranges for the preparation and shipment of the cord blood unit according to industry standards. You will be charged for all preparation and shipment expenses; however, in most cases these expenses will be reimbursed by your insurance company.

  7. Will I be charged a fee by my healthcare provider for the collection?

    Some caregivers will charge a fee for the collection — but it is at their discretion. You should discuss this matter with your caregiver prior to delivery.

Gift Registry FAQs

  1. I want to create a cord blood gift registry, where do I start?

    We recommend using GoFundMe.com. The team at GoFundMe has made it super simple to collect funds online for the things that matter to you. From honeymoons to cord blood banking and everything in between, it's easy to invite family and friends to participate in your important life events, projects & causes. Simply sign up, create your personal registry page, share your link with friends and collect contributions. 

  2. When can I access my contributions?

    Immediately. With GoFundMe there is no time-limit or collection requirement. Each and every payment you receive is yours. Your GoFundMe page will continue to accept contributions even after your goal is met.

  3. How do I access my contributions?

    Simply click the 'Withdraw' link inside of your GoFundMe account to request a check or electronic bank transfer.

  4. Do my contributors need an account?

    No registration required. No hassle. Your contributors simply visit your page link and complete their payments using a debit or credit card.

  5. Will GoFundMe charge me any fees?

    Setting up your personal page is free. GoFundMe will automatically deduct a 5% fee from each contribution you receive. Their payment processing partners, WePay or PayPal, charge a 2.9% + .30 per transaction fee. Fees are deducted from your contributions prior to withdrawing funds. Your contributors are not charged.

  6. Will my contributors get charged any fees?

    No. Contributors do not get charged any fees for giving to your GoFundMe registry.

  7. Can ViaCord help with my personal registry page at GoFundMe?

    No. GoFundMe.com is an independent site and operates on its own without direction from ViaCord. For any registry needs, please visit GoFundMe.com for more info and contact GoFundMe directly with any questions.

  8. How will I know when people contribute?

    GoFundMe will send you an email each time somebody donates to your page. After receiving the email, you'll see the new donation appear in your GoFundMe dashboard and added to your overall account balance.