COVID-19 and Cord Blood Banking
Frequently Asked Questions
Does COVID-19 affect my ability to bank my baby’s cord blood and tissue?
At this point, there have been no changes in cord blood collection, processing, or storage. Similar to previous viral epidemics, no testing has been suggested or mandated.
Vitalant (formerly Community Blood Services in New Jersey) is one of the oldest and largest public blood banks and processes cord blood and tissue for Maze. The public banks must adhere to the highest standards, including adoption of new technologies, validation, and processing. This is because their products could also be used in patients not related to the donors.
They are continuing to process the cord blood and tissue that is coming in, and have divided their staff into two teams in case one needs to quarantine.
There will be no interruption in receiving and processing your baby’s cord blood and tissue during this pandemic.
Will COVID-19 affect my physician's ability to collect the cord blood and tissue?
There will clearly be no changes in protocol if you yourself do not have the virus when you deliver. There may be different protocols, which are still being worked out, if you actually have the virus when you give birth. Some hospitals are doing elective C-sections, and having the mothers wear masks, as well as not having direct contact with the baby after birth.
However, there should be no interruption in the collection or shipping of cord blood and tissue.
Will the cord blood and tissue be safe for future use if I have COVID-19 when I give birth?
First, it is important to remember that the virus is air borne and penetrates through mucous membranes, not blood borne. In fact, the blood banks are desperately looking for blood donors, and are not testing them for the virus. (Donating blood is actually a positive thing your family members can do during this crisis.)
Second, it is important to remember that the cord blood is the baby’s blood. If for some reason your baby’s blood tested positive for the antibodies, (in the future) then your baby would already have been exposed to the virus prior to birth. S/he would probably be immune.
For these reasons, it seems very unlikely that the current pandemic will affect the ability to use the cord blood or tissue in the future if needed.
Would the shipment of cord blood be affected by COVID-19?
Absolutely not. Cord blood and tissue are considered medical and time-sensitive materials and our shipping partner, Quick International, has confirmed that their service has not been effected in any way.
However, due to social distancing, hospital bedside pickup will temporarily be replaced by pick up from the nurses station or another location determined by the hospital staff. Please check with your hospital to verify their procedure.
Will long-term storage be safe from COVID-19?
Your baby’s cord blood and tissue will be stored in vapor nitrogen within the tanks at our facility in Purchase, NY. Vapor nitrogen specifically protects the frozen cord blood from any infections or bacteria. Additionally, COVID-19 or any other virus, can not infect the contents of the tank.
How financially stable is Maze, given the COVID-19 crisis?
Fortunately, Maze is very stable financially. Cord blood and tissue is only one of the things we do. Because we do not have our own processing lab, and use the highest quality public bank, we do not have the fixed costs that other banks have. This puts us in a very stable position. It also allows us to offer the highest quality banking and storage at a fraction of the price of the banks whose overhead is much higher and who are more vulnerable to changes in the economic climate.
What if I decide to change my delivery hospital last minute?
A number of patients have said that due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in their area, they would prefer to deliver their baby at a different hospital from which they registered, We completely understand and can very easily accommodate this request. Please contact us as soon as you’ve chosen the alternate hospital and we will update your account as well as notify the courier so when you contact them, everything is in order.
COVID-19 & Cord Blood Banking
- Stem Cells: Placental Derived Cells Used in Multinational Clinical Trial for the Treatment of Severe COVID-19
- Clinical Trial Using Stem Cells to Treat COVID-19
Coronavirus During Pregnancy and Cord Blood Banking (ParentsGuideCordBlood.org)