How Long Can Cord Blood Be Stored and Still Be Effective?
Cord blood storage is relatively new, and using the stored blood and stem cells is an even newer technology. Over the next ten years we’ll probably see the use of cord blood more and more to help repair damage within the body, and perhaps even cure diseases that have long been looking for a cure. Many people now question whether or not they should bother storing cord blood, wondering how long the cord blood will remain effective stored at such temperatures.
While there have been countless successful transplantations of stored cord blood, there is not all that much data to tell us for sure how long the cells remain effective after cryopreservation. The lack of data isn’t for the lack or storage or success with cells that were once stored, it’s because the whole technology is relatively new and with new technology comes less data than if you’re working with an old process.
What doctors know is that stored cord blood will remain effective for more than ten years once cryopreserved. New data supports the controlled rate freezing methods that most accredited cord blood banks currently use. Controlled rate freezing allows the blood to be cooled and frozen gradually to protect the integrity of the blood sample. Once the sample reaches – 196 it’s known that as long as the blood sample stays at this temperature with no variance that the blood sample is likely to remain intact and highly effective for more than ten years.
Because we know for certain that the cord blood is viable for more than ten years, we can assume that the cord blood will remain just as viable after twenty or even thirty years. This is good news, because the blood samples that are taken from an umbilical cord are typically quite small, three to five ounces, and would be best for younger people who wouldn’t need a large amount of stem cells. And, with a large percentage of kids being afflicted with cancer in their first 15 years of life it’s likely that the cord blood will be sufficient in the amount available as well as still being a viable source of cord blood or stem cells.
It’s likely that scientists will continue to learn new and useful things about cord blood storage all the time. As more samples are frozen and used, we’ll learn the rate of degeneration in stem cells, and also what we can do to combat such degeneration. Right now, with such a new technology, it’s hard to guarantee how long stored cord blood will remain viable. Even without a guarantee, many families are choosing cord blood storage because it offers more hope than not storing it at all.