Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is widely considered as a potential alternative to bone marrow for haematopoietic stem cells. Efforts on UCB research have now taken a step further with the establishment of numerous cord blood banks throughout the world. Our aim is to improve the efficiency and end product of our bank because of the high running costs and administrative workload involved as well as finding a correlation between the reasons for rejecting UCB units (such as a low volume collected/ cell count) and obstetric factors. In 16 months we obtained 683 cord blood units by withdrawing residual blood from the placenta. The units were cryopreserved within 24 hours of extraction in a volume of at least 60mL with a nucleated cells total of 800 per 106. Analysis of the blood was also performed to exclude any bacterial contamination. However, 340 (49.75%) of the collected units were discarded. The main reasons were: low volume; low cell counts; patient/ family history; bacterial contamination; freezing problems; unit misidentification and no informed consent. Our study indicates that monitoring the reasons for rejecting UCB units on a regular basis could save the precious resources wasted on such units by identifying suitable units beforehand.
Keywords: Haematopoietic stem cells, Umbilical cord, Cryopreservation, Cord blood bank, Nucleated cell counts
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