International Day of Women and Girls in Science: The Pioneering Women Behind Cord Blood Banking

Increasing equality for women in science goes hand-in-hand with the development of the field of stem cell research and cord blood banking. Women all around the world are spearheading new approaches and ensuring more people have access to the incredible benefits of these treatments.

Despite many stories of female success that seem to show equality in science, women and girls still continue to be underrepresented. Even in 2022, women receive smaller research grants than their male colleagues and only 12 percent of members of national science academies are women.

To highlight this inequality and celebrate the many significant achievements of women in science, in 2015 the UN declared February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

It would be impossible to acknowledge all the work that is being done by women in the field as their impact and contribution far outweigh their numbers. In our main office alone, our scientific team is headed up by a female, and our QA manager, biomedical scientist, and diagnostics lab manager, and many other female staff play key roles in our organisation.

But what we can do — as well as extending our sincere appreciation for all the work of our female team members — is spread awareness of the work of other pioneering women in the field who paved the way for where we are today. More awareness is the only way to help women and girls in our generation and future generations achieve their right to equal access in science and the STEM fields.

Prof. Eliane Gluckman: The “Mother of the Cord Blood Transplant.”

The esteemed French doctor, Prof. Eliane Gluckman, is well known for many important contributions to the field of stem cell transplantation. However, she is best known for performing the first successful umbilical cord blood transplant on a human being in 1988.

This procedure was not only pioneering as the first ever of its kind, it was also pivotal to the field’s development as it showed that unrelated cord blood could be used as a source of haematopoietic stem cells.

On top of this, Prof. Gluckman has been performing stem cell transplantations for over 30 years, has published over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and is a founding member of the European Group of Bone Marrow Transplantation and head of the department of Bone Marrow Transplantation at the Hospital Saint-Louis in Paris.

For her high achievement, she has received many awards and honours in the field, including an honorary doctorate, and has been named the “Mother of the Cord Blood Transplant.”

Our team thanks Prof. Gluckman for all her contributions to the field of cord blood banking and for furthering the participation of women in science.

Dr Joanne Kurtzberg: A Cord Blood Banking Pioneer

Dr Kurtzberg is best known for performing the first unrelated cord blood transplant in the world in 1993. Since then, she has built an equally impactful career around developing and refining umbilical cord blood transplantation techniques.

Dr Kurtzberg has developed numerous new treatments in the lab and, importantly, has also made sure patients have access to them. Her commitment is to bring research into the hospitals, with her current research revolving around various aspects of normal and malignant haematopoiesis.

Over the span of her ongoing career, Dr Kurtzberg has published more than 200 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, mentored dozens of post-doctoral fellows in her research laboratory, and advised many other doctors and researchers in the field.

Her passion for cord blood transplant research has led her to receive many acknowledgements and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium.

We thank Dr Kurtzberg for spearheading the development of many new techniques in the field of cord blood banking and for continuing to be a powerful female force in the field.

We hope you join us in celebrating Women & Girls in Science Day by honouring the women who stand behind many developments and services in the field of cord blood banking and stem cell therapy.


Future Health is one of the world’s largest, most accredited private stem cell banks. We transport and store stem cells samples from over 94 countries, including cord blood, cord tissue, and dental pulp stem cells. Contact our team to discover how to bank your children’s future health.