Choosing to store your baby's cord blood sample with a private cord blood bank is one of the best decisions you will ever make. Cord blood is an abundant source of valuable stem cells that are currently used to treat over 85 medical conditions including leukaemia, multiple myeloma, fanconi anemia and more. Cord blood stem cells are also being used in clinical trials to potentially treat autism, cerebral palsy, alzheimer's disease, stroke, hearing loss, brain injury and more.
This article will explain the steps involved when you decide to bank your child’s cord blood in a private cord blood bank.
The Enrollment Process
The first step is to contact one of our cord blood banking specialists and discuss your preferred cord blood banking service. Cells4Life currently offer storage terms from 20 up to 60 years and we provide a comprehensive range of stem cell storage services:
- CellsPlus (our latest service powered by Toticyte - a new blood processing technology)
- Whole cord blood storage
- Volume-reduced storage
- Cord tissue storage (add-on service)
- Placental cells and amnion storage
Once you have chosen your preferred service, you will need to fill-out our Storage Agreement and hand it back to the cord blood banking specialist. After paying the initial deposit, we'll then hand you the cord blood collection kit that you will need to bring to the hospital on the day of your delivery.
We recommend signing up to cord blood banking within 4 to 6 weeks of your expected delivery date, but you can sign up any time before that as well. You should also inform your doctor or midwife of your decision to collect and preserve your child’s cord blood.
The Collection Process
Once your baby has been safely delivered and the umbilical cord is cut and clamped, the doctor or midwife will collect the blood from the umbilical cord. They will insert a needle into the vein of the umbilical cord and drain the blood into a container. A piece of the umbilical cord will be collected too, if you have opted for the additional service of cord tissue storage. The entire process takes about 5 minutes and is pain-free for both mother and child. A maternal blood sample is also taken for testing.
Once collected, the cord blood sample is packed into the same cord blood collection kit. You should contact your Cells4Life cord blood specialist and we will arrange for a courier to pick up the cord blood kit after delivery. Once picked up, it will then be shipped to the Cells4Life laboratory in the UK for immediate testing and processing.
WATCH VIDEO: CORD BLOOD & CORD TISSUE COLLECTION PROCESS
Testing and Processing
The collected cord blood sample is subjected to various tests to ensure that they were free of infectious diseases. We will also assess the sample's viability and Total Nucleated Cell Count (TNCC). Initial testing results will be sent to you within 3-5 days.
The cord blood sample will then be processed according to the storage option you selected. At Cells4Life, we offer three different stem cell processing options to parents:
- Volume Reduced - using AXP technology, we extract the largest number of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the umbilical cord blood.
- Whole Cord Blood - cryopreserves every cell type found within the cord blood.
- CellsPlus - uses Toticyte, a ground-breaking blood separation technology that is patented and exclusive to Cells4Life. We are the only cord blood bank that provide this service.
Watch Video: Cells4Life Cord Blood Services
After all testing are complete, an official testing certificate will be sent to you which confirms the approximate number of stem cells stored, their viability and other information about the storage.
After processing, the cord blood sample is then placed in storage tanks. The storage tanks are cooled with liquid nitrogen to approximately -150 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures, stem cells are expected to remain viable for many years. Scientific research suggests that they can be stored indefinitely under these conditions.
Cells4Life offers cord blood storage in two separate geographic locations in the UK for more security and in multiple subdivisions so you have the option of using just a part of the cord blood sample as required for treatment and you can continue preserving the remaining cord blood until needed.
Watch Video: Simple Steps to Cord Blood Banking
When Needed for Transplant
The cord blood sample will be released when a transplant physician indicates that the stem cells are required by the family for a transplant. Once the request has been received, the stem cells are checked for compatibility with their recipient. If the stem cells are found to be compatible, the requested amount of stem cells is thawed. The stem cells are tested again for viability and potency before being shipped to the treating physician.
Your baby’s cord blood stem cells are 100% compatible with your child and there is 25% chance of being compatible with siblings. There is also a chance of being a match for other family members e.g. parents and grandparents.
Cells4Life has released cord blood samples for treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, diamond blackfan anaemia, perinatal stroke and more. See our complete list of cord blood releases for transplant.
Unique Opportunity for Parents
Saving the cord blood is a once-in-a-life chance to capture and preserve the valuable stem cells that could potentially save your baby and your family's health in the future. In 1988, the first ever cord blood transplant in history have been performed to a young boy suffering with fanconi anaemia using his newborn baby sister's cord blood. Since then, more than 40,000 cord blood transplants have been performed to treat various diseases including leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndromes are also called pre-leukemia, lymphoma, other disorders of blood cell proliferation, inherited disorders of the immune system and other organs, inherited metabolic disorders, and solid tumours.
If you are expecting a new baby and would like to learn more about the benefits of cord blood and the costs involved, please feel free to speak with one of our stem cell banking specialists at +971 4 3116613.