Sydney Cord Blood Bank, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick


Phone: (02) 9382 0371


Location: Level 3, Clinical Sciences Building. Prince of Wales Hospital, High Street, Randwick.

About our service

Our service is a biobanking facility that coordinates the collection, storage and distribution of cord blood samples.

Established in 1995, we are a part of a national network of cord blood banks across Australia known as AusCord.

The Sydney Cord Blood Bank is licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and accredited by the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) to ensure the quality, safety and security of the cord blood units.

All cord blood donations that meet our strict criteria remain stored at the Sydney Cord Blood Bank in Randwick until they are needed for transplant. Once a cord blood unit is matched to a patient and requested for transplant, it can be shipped anywhere in the world to the patient.

    Donation information

    Cord blood donations to the Sydney Cord Blood Bank are completely voluntary. They are collected through the normal course of child delivery at our hospitals. The collection is performed without disturbing the normal delivery practice and is not harmful to the mother and baby.

    Cord blood is rich in blood stem cells, the building blocks for blood cells. They are an alternative source of blood stem cells which is normally found in bone marrow.

    Your donation is used as a life-saving treatment for children or adults with potentially fatal illnesses, including immune deficiencies, acute and chronic leukaemias, haematological malignancies, aplastic and Fanconi anaemias, metabolic storage diseases and thalassaemia.

    Read the AusCord booklet

    It is important to understand what it means to donate your cord blood. You can find out more information in the AusCord booklet.

    It is encouraged you also ask your midwife or obstetrician when attending antenatal visits. Donors will need to be at least 36 weeks into their pregnancy and not have a multiple pregnancy (e.g. twins).

    Find a cord blood collection centre

    The Sydney Cord Blood Bank has collection centres and the following maternity hospitals:

    • Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick
    • Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Randwick
    • Royal Prince Alfred Women and Babies, Camperdown (temporarily not collecting)

    The Sydney Cord Blood Bank collects cord blood at these three collection centres in NSW, provided a trained collector is on-site and available. Saturday and Sunday collections are not offered due to unavailability of laboratory staff for processing the cord blood on weekends.

    Consenting to donating your cord blood

    On the day of delivery, notify your midwife or obstetrician that you would like to donate your cord blood, and they will contact a Sydney Cord Blood Bank collector. You must have read the AusCord information booklet and signed a written consent for collection of cord blood.

    Sometimes the cord blood collection is not successful, for example, because the volume collected is insufficient or there is a clot. You will be notified if this is the case and will not need to complete the next steps.

    Complete and sign a medical and travel history questionnaire

    You will be asked to complete a questionnaire that will help the us distribute your donation to the appropriate patient. The questionnaire will ask questions relating to ethnic background, family medical history and baby's health. It will also ask for a ‘donor declaration’, to assess the risk of infection for hepatitis, HIV, syphilis and other diseases.

    Providing a blood test

    Shortly prior or shortly after delivery, a simple blood test will be conducted to test for any infectious diseases.

    Conducting a follow up

    We will contact you at 6 months after the birth of your baby to ask you a few additional health questions. It is important you contact the Sydney Cord Blood Bank if your contact details change or with any updated health information you feel might be relevant.

    Sometimes you will be contacted months or years after a donation has been made to re-check the health status of yourself and your child.

    Frequently asked questions

    What is cord blood?

    Cord Blood is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta after delivery of the baby and after the umbilical cord is cut. Cord blood provides the baby with nutrition while in the womb, but after the birth it is normally discarded. It is collected from the umbilical cord vein in an average volume of about 100mL.

    The cord blood is rich in blood stem cells, which are the building blocks for blood cells. They are normally found in the bone marrow, which can perpetually produce the blood cells found in the circulating blood (white cells, red blood cells and platelets). Cord blood can be frozen and stored for over 20 years without loss of potency to the blood stem cells. Cord blood is therefore an alternative source of blood stem cells to bone marrow.

    Bone marrow transplantation is a curative treatment for diseases such as leukaemia, lymphoma, immune deficiency, aplastic anaemia and thalassaemia. Bone marrow donors have to be rigorously matched with the patient with respect to the tissue type of their white blood cells. Only about a third of the patients needing a bone marrow transplant can find a suitable compatible donor within their family. Cord blood stem cells do not need such rigorous matching, making cord blood a versatile option for stem cell transplant.

    During the past 25 years, over 30,000 cord blood transplants have been undertaken in both children and adults. Initially cord blood transplants were performed for paediatric patients where there was no compatible bone marrow donor. Now, over 25 years later, and with increasing experience, it is clear that cord blood transplantation is a viable alternative to bone marrow in adult and paediatric patients.

    What is AusCord?

    AusCord is the national network of public cord blood banks in Australia. It comprises three cord blood banks:

    • BMDI Cord Blood Bank in Melbourne operated by a consortium comprising the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Fight Cancer Foundation and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
    • Queensland Cord Blood Bank At The Mater in Brisbane, operated by Mater Misericordiae Limited
    • Sydney Cord Blood Bank, operated by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network

    What happens to my cord blood after it is collected?

    Collected cord blood units are processed to reduce their volume, frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen vapour at or below -150°C. The cord blood is identified with a unique identification number and the donor remains anonymous. We are able to store cord blood for over 25 years. We perform studies monthly in order to ensure our stored cord blood units are still healthy and functional.

    All cord blood donations that meet our strict criteria remain stored at the Sydney Cord Blood Bank in Randwick until they are needed for transplant. Once a cord blood unit is matched to a patient and requested for transplant, it can be shipped anywhere in the world to the patient.

    The Sydney Cord Blood Bank has banked over 17,000 cord blood units. For cord blood units that meet strict acceptance criteria, the tissue typing of the cord blood is listed and available for searching worldwide through the World Marrow Donor Association.

    Are there alternatives to public donation?

    Sydney Cord Blood Bank is a public bank storing cord blood for use, anonymously, by anyone in need. The information provided below is about services not provided by Sydney Cord Blood Bank.

    Designated/Family donation

    This is a donation of cord blood for use by a family member in need of a bone marrow transplant. Arrangements for such donation and banking of the cord blood are made by the treating physician.

    Processing and storage will normally be arranged by the affiliated bone marrow transplant or cell therapy laboratory of the requesting Transplant Centre.

    Private banking

    Families may consider storing cord blood for their own use in case there is ever a medical need, either for the donor child or for another family member. Private banking involves a collection fee and an annual storage fee. Private cord blood banks are available throughout the country.

    Can everyone donate?

    The Sydney Cord Blood Bank takes numerous steps to ensure that the quality and safety of the cord blood is maintained. Restrictions on donation are similar to those for donating whole blood. Donations are accepted from mothers who have lived in or travelled to the UK.

    Do you ever need to take a blood sample from my baby?

    No. We will not take any blood samples from your baby. We take a sample of blood from you (the participant/mother) to screen for infectious diseases.

    Why do you ask my ethnic background?

    Ethnic groups share common tissue types which are used for matching a cord blood unit to a patient in need of a cord blood transplant. This information is used to assist in evaluating and increasing the ethnic diversity of the national inventory.

    Information for clinicians

    We collaborate with clinicians, researchers and health professionals. See our clinical hub page for more information.

    Last updated Monday 15th January 2024

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