Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is an important source of hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation. Although UCB is often collected from unrelated donors, directed umbilical cord blood (DCB) from sibling donors also provides an important source of UCB for transplantation. This report summarizes the experience in collection, testing, storage, and transplantation of DCB units by the National Blood Service for England and North Wales over 10 years. Eligibility for collection was based on an existing sibling suffering from a disease that may be treated by stem cell transplantation or a family history that could result in the birth of a sibling with a disease that could be treated by stem cell transplantation. Collections were made on the provision that the sibling's clinician was willing to financially support the collection and to take responsibility for medical review of the mother and potential recipient. Given the high investment in UCB banking and the introduction of new regulations and mandatory licensing under the European Union Tissues and Cells Directive and those proposed in the U.S., this report details the procedures that we have used for DCB donations, the outcome data where donations have been used for transplantation, and it provides some timely recommendations for best practices.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.