Both are used for stem cells, each with their unique features but many differences too. So is one better than the other?

We want to find out which if either is better. We will explore the uses of cord blood and bone marrow stem cells, when one would be used over the other, cord blood pros and cons, and bone marrow pros and cons to answer our question.

If you want to find out more, read on for details.

Pros and Cons of Cord Blood

Cord blood is the blood left over in the umbilical cord once the baby has been born and the placenta delivered. This can be collected and stored, either publicly or privately.


  • If you donate your cord blood anyone waiting on the stem cell transplant list could potentially use them for treatment.
  • Privately storing your baby’s stem cells gives you and your family access to a lifelong safety net for medical treatments. The baby will have a 100% genetic match and their siblings have a very high chance of being even a partial match should they need to use stem cells.
  • Umbilical cord stem cells rarely carry infections and diseases. This means they are less likely to be rejected when used for treatment.
  • Can be used in the treatment of over 80 conditions worldwide.
  • Cord blood collection is less complicated, less painful, and less risky than collecting bone marrow. The procedure with Cells4Life is non-invasive too.
  • No ethical issues associated with them being used for treatment.


  • The number of cells collected can have a big factor on their viability for use in treatment. If a collected sample is too small means an individual might need to use samples from multiple donors.
  • Private storage isn’t free.
  • Public donation is only offered by a handful of hospitals in the UK – 3 hospitals and you can go through the Anthony Nolan Charity too. If you cannot get to these hospitals, it isn’t available.
  • If the condition being treated is a genetic disorder, the individuals own blood cannot be used as the blood will contain the mutation. A donor will be needed.

Pros and Cons of Bone Marrow

Bone marrow stem cells come from the marrow itself. The soft spongey centre part of the bone that contains many blood vessels. There are two types of bone marrow – red which contains blood stem cells and yellow which is made mostly of fat.


  • No ethical issues associated with them being used for treatment.
  • Can be used in the treatment of blood disorders and cancers.
  • Less likely to be rejected by the body than other transplant types such as organ transplant


  • Invasive and slightly painful collection process.
  • Potential for rejection
  • Potential risk of infection
  • More expensive to collect than other stem cells

Cord Blood Vs Bone Marrow – What’s better?

Cord blood offers a few advantages over bone marrow.

Using cord blood offers greater regenerative properties, is less likely to lead to Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and is available in a more timely manner that a bone marrow donation. There is also less restrictive tissue matching between donor and patient for cord blood vs bone marrow.

Cord blood stem cells have been collected, stored, and prepared ready for use while you have to wait on a donation list for a match when using bone marrow. Cord blood also doesn’t require a procedure to collect. Rather it is collected shortly after birth via a painless non-invasive process. Better still, because of unique immunosuppressive properties, Cord blood stem cells are less likely to be rejected by the body.

Bone marrow transplants continue to be used in the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous diseases including things like Acute Leukaemia, Aplastic Anaemia, inborn errors of metabolism and many more.

Cord blood stem cells treat similar diseases and conditions but are used in regenerative medicines as well.  

As you can see there are reasons for both sources to existing.

Why should I store Cord Blood?

Storing your stem cells with a cord blood bank provides you and your family with a backup should something go wrong. You will have exclusive and immediate access to a 100% genetic match to your baby so should stem cell therapy be what they need, it’s ready to go. Bone marrow transplant will always have their place but the peace of mind provided by stem cell storage is worth the price.

Request a Welcome Pack

Find out more about cord blood banking by downloading a Welcome Pack now.


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