Public cord blood banks (CBBs) store cord blood unit (CBU) donations for anyone in need. However, strict regulations need to be followed to build up high-quality bank products that can be used worldwide. We established a public CBB at a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia. Here, we investigated the reasons behind rejecting or not collecting CBUs over 2 years (2011-2012) and which steps were implemented to improve the number and quality of storable units.

Study Design and Methods

A total of 2891 mothers were evaluated. Reasons for rejecting donors, not collecting, and rejecting units before or after collection were analyzed and compared for the years 2011 and 2012.


A total of 1157 (40%) CBUs were not collected, mainly due to staff availability, and 564 (20%) CBUs were rejected. The main reason for rejecting donations was the mother's or neonate's health. Rejecting CBUs after collection was due to low volume. A total of 1170 (40%) CBUs were successfully collected for potential banking and sent for processing; however, 58% were rejected in the laboratory due to low total nucleated cell counts. Several changes were implemented during the 2 years including physician education and awareness, in utero collection, cesarean collection, and staff recruitment. These changes positively affected the numbers of our collected units. Out of the initially eligible mothers in 2011, only 17% were banked; this was increased to 33% in 2012.


We identified the problems with collecting CBUs for banking and will keep improving our selection process of recruiting more CBUs of high quality.