The number of cord blood samples stored at the Beijing Cord Blood Bank (BCBB) reached 180,000 in May, the Beijing Times reported. Some 600 of these samples have been used to save the lives of 500 patients.
Cord blood, which is rich in blood-forming stem cells, comes from the umbilical cord after childbirth. Transfusions of cord blood can allow different types of blood cells to be produced, which is helpful if a patient's blood cells have been depleted or destroyed.
More than 1 million patients join the waiting list for stem cell transplants in China annually, an anonymous BCBB official said. In Beijing, 160,000 cord blood samples aren't harvested annually.
Statistics on Internet portal sohu.com show 20 percent of couples in Beijing donate cord blood after their child's birth, up from 2 percent in 2002.