For bone marrow transplantation, Mayo Clinic doctors have experience using stem cells from umbilical cord blood (cord blood transplant), from peripheral blood (peripheral blood stem cell transplant) and from bone marrow (bone marrow transplant).
In a cord blood transplant, stems cells are collected from umbilical cord blood. Umbilical cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord after a baby's birth. The cord blood can be frozen and stored until it's used in a cord blood transplant. If this is an option for you, before your baby's birth, ask your doctor about how to make arrangements to donate umbilical cord blood to a cord blood bank.
Cord blood has fewer stem cells available than other bone marrow transplant options. But the stem cells in cord blood can grow more blood cells than can those collected from bone marrow. Cord blood cells are also immunologically naïve because they have not been exposed to infections. This makes them more tolerant of a tissue mismatch between the cord cells and the patient. They can be used to transplant patients who do not have a fully matched available donor.
Researchers continue to study potential uses for cord blood, such as in children with sickle cell disease.