Umbilical cord blood banking: Beyond the public-private divide

23 June 2014

Umbilical cord blood is a source of haematopoietic progenitor cells, which are used to treat a range of malignant, genetic, metabolic and immune disorders. Until recently, cord blood was either collected through donations to publicly funded cord blood banks for use in allogeneic transplantation, or stored in commercial cord blood banks for use in autologous transplantation. The line between public and private cord blood banking is being blurred by the emergence of "hybrid" models that combine aspects of both the public and private systems. The authors describe these hybrid models and argue that their emergence is explained by both market forces and public sector policy They propose that the future of the sector will depend heavily on several key developments that will differentially affect public, private and hybrid banking models.