How to list donors and cord blood units

Setting up a registry or a cord blood bank is not easy. One of the first steps is to establish an infrastructure to facilitate donations from volunteer donors or to ship cord blood products to other countries. You can read about the steps that need to be taken to participate in the international exchange of blood stem cells in the WMDA handbook.

Once the infrastructure is set up in your country, you can start listing donors or cord blood units for international patients with the  Search & Match Service.

WMDA has a two-step approach for accepting new organisations to the database. Firstly, your organisation must meet the minimum requirements described below and become a WMDA provisional member. Secondly (once your organisation is listed with the service), you need to work towards becoming WMDA certified, qualified or accredited, or NetCord-FACT/AABB accredited.

The minimum requirements for listing donors and/or cord blood units in the Search & Match Service are as follows:

  • The organisation must meet the legal standards as established by the country in which the organisation operates.
  • The organisation complies with quality indicators such as standards of testing and HLA typing.
  • The organisation meets specific ethical requirements, particularly in gaining the consent of volunteer donors and of mothers providing umbilical cord blood.
  • The organisation has the capacity to facilitate requests from other countries for blood samples, HLA verification typing or infectious disease marker (IDM) testing. The organisation must also be prepared to collect and transport adult stem cells and/or cord blood units to other countries in a timely manner.
  • The organisation must secure an Issuing Organisation Number (ION) from ICCBBA before the listing can start. A request for this needs to be sent to the WMDA office ( and they will ensure the ION gets issued by ICCBBA (
  • The organisation must sign a data agreement with WMDA and provide contact details to be featured on WMDA Share.
  • The organisation must update its file on a regular basis. Ideally, this should happen on a daily base! If in the beginning, a small organisation can only upload once a week or month, it will be a good start.
  • The organisation must comply with the data standards.
  • The organisation must sign a data use agreement with WMDA and other registries.

To list donors or cord blood units in the Search & Match Service, follow these steps:

  1. Contact WMDA office by mail ( and ask for an introduction to get to know more about WMDA.
  2. Submit documentation to describe your organisation (based on the points outlined above) to the WMDA office.
  3. If your application is approved by the WMDA Board, you can send a test file to see if the file complies with WMDA data standards.
  4. If the test file complies with Search & Match data standards, your donors/cord blood units will be added to the global database and be visible for any patient in the world.
  5. You will receive an annual invoice from WMDA.