Umbi­li­cal Cord Blood Donation

Umbi­li­cal cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbi­li­cal cord and pla­cen­ta after a child is born and the cord has been cut. This cord blood con­ta­ins mil­li­ons of valuable stem cells that can be trans­plan­ted in pre­cis­e­ly the same way as stem cells and bone mar­row. In Ger­ma­ny, the signi­fi­can­ce of cord blood dona­ti­on has decli­ned due to the wide­spread wil­ling­ness of poten­ti­al donors and is the­r­e­fo­re rare­ly under­ta­ken, unli­ke in other count­ries. In excep­tio­nal cases and if the search for a donor pro­ves par­ti­cu­lar­ly dif­fi­cult, howe­ver, cord blood will still be used in Germany.



Low risk of infec­tion during transplantation Limi­t­ed quan­ti­ty of stem cells that often will not suf­fice for trans­plan­ta­ti­on in adults
Low-risk dona­ti­on Delay­ed blood for­ma­ti­on in the pati­ent after trans­plan­ta­ti­on (apla­sia)
Dona­ted cells available immediately Pos­si­bly unde­tec­ted gene­tic dis­po­si­ti­on for serious diseases
Labo­rious pro­cess of donor pre­pa­ra­ti­on unnecessary
Increased immu­no­lo­gi­cal tole­rance if the HLA cha­rac­te­ristics of the dona­ted cells and reci­pi­ent do not match exactly

Coll­ec­tion of umbi­li­cal cord blood

After birth, the vein at the end of the cord is punc­tu­red to drain the resi­du­al blood from the umbi­li­cal cord and pla­cen­ta into a spe­cial coll­ec­tion sys­tem. This is trans­por­ted to a cord blood bank, whe­re it is cen­tri­fu­ged. The cell con­cen­tra­te thus obtai­ned is mixed with a pre­ser­va­ti­ve solu­ti­on and stored in liquid nitro­gen at ‑135°C.

Par­ents can choo­se bet­ween two opti­ons: While sto­rage in a public cord blood bank is free of char­ge and the stem cells from the cord blood can be made available to any pati­ent world­wi­de, com­mer­cial, pri­va­te cord blood banks offer indi­vi­du­al donors sto­rage, for a fee, in the event that they requi­re the ser­vice them­sel­ves in the future. With some dise­a­ses, howe­ver, such as con­ge­ni­tal con­di­ti­ons, the cord blood is alre­a­dy affec­ted and thus can­not be used for transplantation.

Reasons for ruling out a cord blood donation

A pregnant woman may not dona­te umbi­li­cal cord blood if any of the fol­lo­wing appli­es to the mother, father, or a mem­ber of the family:

  • Mother under 18 years of age
  • Com­pli­ca­ti­ons during pregnancy
  • Cer­tain ill­nesses in the mother or the (bio­lo­gi­cal) father
  • Seve­re infec­tious dise­a­ses in the mother (e.g. HIV or hepatitis)
  • Addic­tion in the mother
  • Gene­tic dise­a­ses in the family
  • Mother belongs to a risk group accor­ding to the gui­de­lines of the Ger­man Medi­cal Association

More detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on on the reasons for exclu­si­on and on the birth cen­ters whe­re cord blood can be coll­ec­ted for a dona­ti­on can be obtai­ned direct­ly from the cord blood banks..

Public cord blood banks in Germany

List of public cord blood banks that make their data available through the ZKRD:

DKMS Stem Cell Bank gGmbH

Web: www​.dkms​-stemcell​bank​.de

Uni­ver­si­täts­kli­ni­kum Erlan­gen
Trans­fu­si­ons­me­di­zi­ni­sche und Hämo­sta­seo­lo­gi­sche Abtei­lung

Deut­sche Stamm­zell­spen­der­da­tei Nabel­schnur­blut (DSSD)
Insti­tut für Trans­fu­si­ons­me­di­zin und Immu­no­lo­gie DRK-Blut­spen­de­dienst Baden-Würt­tem­berg –Hes­sen gGmbH
Web: www​.stamm​zell​spen​der​da​tei​.de/

The cord blood banks in Gau­ting and Han­no­ver no lon­ger accept new cord blood dona­ti­ons, but their cur­rent stocks are still available to the ZKRD for donor searches:

Stif­tung Akti­on Kno­chen­mark­spen­de Bay­ern
Web: www​.akb​.de

Deut­sche Nabelschnurblutbank
Web: www​.nkr​-mhh​.de

Ques­ti­ons and answers

The most fre­quent­ly asked ques­ti­ons and ans­wers about typ­ing and stem cell dona­ti­on can be found in our FAQs.

Inter­na­tio­nal donor numbers

Thanks to the tire­less work of the donor cen­ters, our data­ba­se con­ti­nues to grow. You can find the exact data in our dia­gram on donor num­bers.
View dia­gram

Would you like to sign up?

Sim­ply cont­act your nea­rest donor cen­ter. More infor­ma­ti­on about the donor cen­ters and their loca­ti­ons can be found on our address page.