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Our Purity Difference

While all cord blood contains red blood cells, these cells have no therapeutic benefit and can actually lead to complications at the time of transplant, if not removed.

LifebankUSA removes red blood cells through a process called “red blood cell depletion” to ensure that cord blood units are, on average, 99% pure.*,1 Unlike LifebankUSA, some other cord blood banks can have purity levels as low as 71%.2,3 This means that their units contain a lot of red blood cells that may cause complications if the cord blood units are used for treatment.

The value of red blood cell depletion

The LifebankUSA optimal red blood cell removal process eliminates the need for additional preparation at the time of transplant if your baby’s stem cells are ever needed. This is important because further manipulation may lower the number of cells available for use.

LifebankUSA: cord blood unit chart

Red blood cell depletion also reduces the risk of blood type incompatibility, which could lead to complications if the cord blood unit is used for a sibling or other relatives.

The LifebankUSA processing can result in:

  • Less risk of blood-type incompatibility
  • Less need for red blood cell removal through post-thaw “washing” (which may decrease Total Nucleated Cell [TNC] count)

Some cord blood banks leave significant amounts of nucleated red blood cells in cord blood, artificially inflating the TNC count.

The Truth About Total Nucleated Cells (TNC)

Some other cord blood banks often promise expectant parents the highest stem cell recovery rates, often referred to as Total Nucleated Cell recovery, or TNC. While these cord blood banks may state that the goal of cord blood banking is saving as many cells as possible, they may fail to mention that their reported TNC count may include unwanted cells, such as nucleated red blood cells.

These nucleated red blood cells artificially inflate the number of stem cells the cord blood banks claim to be available for the patient. In fact, a 2006 study of cord blood units showed that many cord blood units had more than 40% nucleated red blood cells. These red blood cells have no benefit and can actually lead to complications when used to treat a life-threatening disease or condition.4

An important measure is the number of CD34+ cells preserved. Research has shown that the more CD34+ stem cells used, the greater the chances of treatment success and survival.

When parents choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking with LifebankUSA, they will be banking as many CD34+ stem cells as possible and eliminating the most red blood cells possible, which have no benefit and can actually be harmful.

Only LifebankUSA can provide parents with the most stem cells possible by collecting not only the cord blood, but also additional CD34+ stem cells from the placental blood.

[Red blood cell depletion is] performed because the red blood cells do not contribute any therapeutic benefit in a transplant…and are generally not desirable for the patient to receive.

Further information available at: http://www.aabb.org/sa/facilities/celltherapy/Pages/cordbloodfaqs.aspx

*Purity is defined as the absence of red blood cells in cord blood.Stem cells from placental and cord blood are indicated to rebuild blood.


  1. Data on file, LifebankUSA; 2010.
  2. Evaluation of Processing Technologies for Umbilical Cord Blood; Henderson, Christianna; et al. Saint Louis Cord Blood Bank, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center http://www.slcbb.org/PDFs/Evaluation%20of%20ProcessingTechnologies%20for%20UCB.pdf. Accessed March 24, 2014.
  3. Dobrila L, Chapman J, Marr D, Kumar V, Coelho P, Rubinstein P. ThermoGenesis AXP AutoXpress platform and BioArchive system for automated cord blood banking. ThermoGenesis Corp, Rancho Cordova, CA. 2006.
  4. Larghero J, Rea D, Brossard Y, Van Nifterik J, Delasse V, Robert I, et al. Prospective flow cytometric evaluation of nucleated red blood cells in cord blood units and relationship with nucleated and CD34(+) cell quantification. Transfusion. 2006 Mar;46(3):403-6.


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