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News Release


For Release: July 6, 1999, 5 p.m. (ET)

Below is a news release on a policy published in the July issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

CHICAGO - A new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states there is no strong evidence to recommend routine cord blood banking for an infant's future use.

In recent years, umbilical cord blood has been used successfully to treat a variety of pediatric genetic, hematologic and oncologic disorders. This advance has resulted in both not-for-profit and for-profit cord blood banking programs. The AAP's statement is intended to help guide physicians in answering parents' questions about cord blood banking.

According to the statement, "Families may be vulnerable to emotional marketing at the time of birth of a child and may look to their physicians for advice. No accurate estimates exist of the likelihood of children to need their own stored cells. The range of available estimates is from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 200,000." For this and other reasons, it is difficult to recommend that parents store their children's cord blood for future use. The AAP policy states:

  • Given the difficulty in estimating the need for using one's own cord blood cells for transplantation, private storage of cord blood as "biological insurance" is unwise. However, banking should be considered if there is a family member with a current or potential need to undergo a stem cell transplantation.
  • Conditions such as leukemia or severe hemoglobinopathy may indicate the need for directed-donor cord blood banking for sibling cord blood transplantation.
  • Philanthropic donation of cord blood for banking at no cost for certain transplantations is encouraged. In such instances, the parents should be informed of the recommended principles.

The policy also points out that if cord clamping is done too soon after birth, the infant may be deprived of a placental blood transfusion, resulting in lower blood volume and increased risk for anemia later in life. Finally the AAP recommends that because this issue can be emotionally stressful, consent should be obtained during a prenatal visit and before the onset of labor.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 55,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

2004 - American Academy of Pediatrics