The cells can be frozen indefinitely, says Associate Professor Mark Kirkland, medical director of Australia's largest private cord blood bank, Cell Care.
"Tests so far indicate that cells remain the same as when they were first frozen after 23 to 24 years, so as far as we know it's indefinite," he
Reasons for banking cord blood include having a family history of disease, or having a baby of an ethnic minority or mixed ethnicity where it may be difficult to find a suitable donor.
Currently, more than 41,000 Australians have banked their cord blood.
"Around 1 per cent of mums currently choose to store their baby's cord blood, which is very low," says Professor Kirkland
For future uses, it would be around one in 200," says Professor Kirkland
says that if couples don't bank privately then he
does encourage public banking, however there are limitations.
"The worst thing is to throw it away, however the availability of public banking is very limited," he
And for a lot of these new treatments for diabetes and cerebral palsy the requirement is for the child's own cord blood to be used," adds Professor Kirkland