Table 1

Some of the differences in the operation of Umbilical Cord Blood Banks in Mexico

Private banks

Public banks


Assure compatibility in 100% of cases.

Compatibility reaches up to 90%.

The possibility of use by other members of the family of the donor is mentioned. This is an affirmation which is part of their marketing strategy.

A bioarchive of Histoleukocytic antigen is available to increase the possibility of compatibility.

The availability of the unit is immediate; however samples are regularly stored in foreign banks.

Availability is not immediate. A bioarchive assures better compatibility.

Storage costs are paid by the donor. On the average an initial payment of 800 USD is required as well as annual payments of 90 USD. Financial plans for 5, 10, 15 and even 20 years are available.

No cost to the donor; all costs are paid by the State. They promote solidarity through the altruistic donation of umbilical cords. Any person may obtain a sample for medical treatment without the need to pay.

No evidence that NOM-003-SSA2-1993 or quality certificate ISO 9001–2000 are being complied with; and no evidence of affiliation to international groups that would certify the adherence to quality standards.

Operation complies with international quality controls (World Association of Bone Marrow Transplants, International Foundation Netcord, American Association of Blood Banks AABB, Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-003-SSA2-1993, Quality certifications ISO 9001–2000.

Despite the absence of certified quality control for the storage and transport of the samples, all umbilical cord samples are stored.

Strict quality controls for the selection of donors, the acquisition, storage, transport and cellular viability. Only samples that meet strict standards of quality and cellular viability are stored.

The acquisition of samples is usually completed by a third party; thereby the responsibility to complete this task in a prescribed manner is diluted. This also creates the possibility of clandestine payments to those who acquire the samples; this would bias the sample acquisition process in favor of the private banks.

Acquisition is completed by trained personnel.


Serrano-Delgado et al. BMC Medical Ethics 2009 10:12   doi:10.1186/1472-6939-10-12

Open Data