How Banking Works

Umbilical cord stem cell banking is a simple process and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve the baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue, which are otherwise discarded as medical waste. The collection of umbilical cord stem cells can be done only at the time of birth and causes no harm to the baby or mother. Here are the steps involved in the process:

Enrollment

Sign up for umbilical cord banking well before the delivery due date to receive a collection kit. The kit is to be carried to the hospital at the time of delivery.

LifeCell provides a UN 3373 certified collection kit that is temperature validated to ensure thermal insulation, rigid in structure to ensure safety of samples during transportation to the processing site. The kit is packed with necessary tools and instruments in sterile condition for the collection of umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and maternal blood samples.

Collection & Transport

Umbilical cord blood and tissue samples are collected by your care giver through a simple 10-minute procedure done just after childbirth, posing no risk to the mother or baby.

At LifeCell, a minimum volume of 40 ml of cord blood, 20 cms of umbilical cord tissue and 6ml of maternal blood sample are collected.

The collected sample is transported to our laboratory through express air cargo within 48 hours. Also our logistics provider has protocols established to ensure that these medical samples do not pass through a x-Ray screening at security.

Through our client portal we have enabled online tracking of the sample right from the time it leaves the hospital, providing you the comfort of following the journey of your baby’s precious stem cells from the umbilical cord to the cryo-preserver.

Testing & Processing

Once the sample reaches the lab, it is bar-coded and registered on the Laboratory Information Management System. The samples are immediately moved for testing and processing.

  • Testing

    The sample is subject to various tests to check for the presence of infectious diseases. Tests are also conducted to assess the cell counts, viability and sterility. Representative samples are preserved to conduct future tests required at the time of transplant.

  • Cord Blood Processing

    The cord blood sample is processed to remove the red blood cells and retrieve the stem cells. At LifeCell, a personalized proprietary processing technology is used to achieve maximum stem cell recovery.

  • Cord Tissue Processing

    The umbilical cord tissue portions are reduced to smaller size. An Explant cell culture process is used to isolate the stem cells from the tissue.

Preservation

The umbilical cord tissue portions are reduced to smaller size. An Explant cell culture process is used to isolate the stem cells from the tissue.

  • Cryo-Freezing

    The stem cells after harvest are mixed with cryopreservation solution for retaining viability during storage, frozen down slowly using a controlled rate freezing protocol, and then placed inside large stainless steel tanks supplied with liquid nitrogen in order to maintain vapour phase temperatures below -150o Celsius.

  • Preservation Certificate

    A preservation certificate indicating the cell count and the viability of stem cells at the time of preservation is sent for your records.

Retrieval

The sample can be retrieved at the time of need through the following steps:

  • Doctor Request

    The umbilical cord stem cell samples are released only based on a request from a transplant physician indicating the need for a stem cell transplant for an approved therapy. Once the request is submitted, the matching (HLA test) between donor and recipient is initiated. If the stored unit is not a match or an additional unit is required, international registries are accessed.

  • Release

    Prior to release, the preserved sample is tested for potency, viability through tests prescribed by AABB’s standards. In some cases, where the transplant physician requests for higher volume of stem cells than what is preserved, LifeCell provides free expansion of the stem cells.

  • Shipment

    LifeCell shall ship the cryo-preserved stem cells in special dry shippers. These dry shippers contain enough liquid nitrogen for temperature maintenance up to 14 days, ensuring safety of sample during transportation to any part of the world.

  • Medical Concierge

    LifeCell helps in exploring and expanding your treatment options by providing access to transplant centers not just in India but also globally so that you may receive best-in-class advice and also participate in clinical trials that could be potential breakthrough treatments of the future.

FAQs

Are you worried about umbilical cord collection and preservation process?
Learn how simple and safe it is to preserve your baby’s unique stem cells without any complications.

Preserving Your Baby’s Stem Cells

  • How is cord blood collected?

  • Is the collection process painful?

  • Are there any health-risks involved in collecting the cord blood?

  • How long will it take to collect the cord blood and tissue?

  • Will there be someone to assist in the collection process?

  • What if there are no paramedics to assist in the collection of cord blood during delivery?

  • How should I inform the LifeCell executives about the delivery?

  • What are the contents of collection kit?

  • Are there any special measures required to take care of the collection kit till delivery?

The blood containing stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord after the baby is born, through a 10-minute simple procedure. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut to receive the blood inside the cord which can be performed by gynecologist or a paramedic from LifeCell. During the process, a minimum amount of 40ml of cord blood, 20 cm of cord tissue and 6 ml of maternal blood are collected for testing, processing and storing the stem cells.

No. The collection of stem cells is a simple, non invasive and painless procedure which can be performed within 10 minutes.

No harm will be caused to the mother and the baby while collecting the cord blood. The collection procedure does not interfere with the birthing process as the cord blood is collected only after the baby is born. Thus, there are no medical complications or health risks involved.

The procedure is simple and takes only 10 minutes. However, the procedure must be performed within 10 minutes after birth to get viable samples.

Although, most gynecologists can perform this simple procedure, a paramedic will be sent from LifeCell to assist in the collection process, if requested.

Our paramedics are available 24X7 at your service, but it is necessary to inform us at least 2 hours prior to delivery.

You can intimate us by calling our collection helpline at 1800 419 5544 as you leave to the hospital. Inform us at least 2 hours prior to delivery, in order to arrange for paramedic assistance and collection of the sample.

Blood bag in sterile pack, foam brick, alcohol prep pads, iodine swab, bio hazard bags, absorbent towels, cord tissue collection containers, parafilm strips, sterile gloves, sterile sheet, EDTA vial (lavender cap), regular vial (red cap), vacutainer needle and holder, tourniquet. Documents such as Collection procedure guide, purple card, pack contents and packaging instructions, Barcode labels and Hologram.

The foam brick should be kept in frozen condition and the availability of all kit contents should be checked. However, our relationship executive will explain the procedure and clear your queries at the time of enrollment.

Testing, Processing & Storage of Stem Cells

  • What are the reasons to test the cord blood sample?

  • Does transportation of samples have impact on the viability?

  • How are cord blood and tissue samples processed in lab?

  • If there are many samples, will it take more time for the technicians to process my sample?

  • How will I know whether my sample is free from contamination?

  • Is there any other method to process and preserve the stem cells?

  • How is LifeCell's technology better than other automated technologies?

  • How are cord blood and tissue samples stored?

  • Do samples get lost or misplaced in the lab?

  • Is it possible to store cord blood sample, if my blood is tested positive for Hepatitis?

  • What are the situations under which my sample gets rejected?

  • How long does cord blood remain stored?

  • Should I bank the stem cells of all my children?

  • I'm having twins. Should I store both their stem cells?

  • I am having my delivery outside India. Is it possible to store the cord blood stem cells with LifeCell?

  • What is public cord blood banking and how is it different?

  • How long will it take to retrieve the stored stem cells for treatment?

The samples are tested to ensure viability, cell count, sterility and to check for presence of transmittable diseases. The test results show whether a sample is suitable for storage and if there are any disease conditions detected, parents will be notified.

Ideally, the umbilical cord samples should be processed within 48 hours of collection to maintain the viability of the stem cells. Thus, transportation time is crucial for cord blood, tissue and maternal blood samples. At LifeCell, the samples are transported through specialized logistics provider to ensure a speedy and x-ray free transportation.

LifeCell offers a personalized technique called ‘Proprietary Personalized Processing’ in which the stem cells are isolated from the cord blood by centrifuge method and preserved in a cryo preservation chamber. This process is customized based on the volume of the sample and differs from others in a way, the samples are centrifuged and stem cells are separated. To know more about the process, read here. After testing for quality, the cord tissue is reduced to smaller portions and subjected to an explant cell culture process in order to isolate the stem cells from the tissue and cryo-preserved.

No. At LifeCell, we give priority to every client, and hence there are 3 shifts to process the incoming samples. Each shift has 4-5 well experienced technicians to process over 60 samples per shift. Thus, your sample will be processed well ahead of time with precision.

After initial processing in the lab, technologist will be able to confirm the status of contamination, if any. However, the chances of samples having contamination are very rare.

Apart from the LifeCell's personalized closed bag processing method, there are other methods such as AXP, Sepax etc., which yields lesser stem cells comparatively.

The efficiency of stem cell processing depends on maximum recovery of nucleated cells and reduction of RBCs from the sample.

LifeCell's proprietary process can recover over 85% of total nucleated cells which is about 10% higher than other automated processes like AXP and Sepax. It also ensures over 95% of reduction in red blood cells which is also about 10% higher than other automated methods. Thus, LifeCell has better processing technology when compared to other cord blood banks.

The stem cells from cord blood and tissue are stored in well protected cryopreservation chambers. The sample bags are kept inside the aluminum canisters which are placed within the cryo-cylinders and preserved for long term storage at -196 degrees. The samples are stored in dual storage sites: Chennai and Gurgaon for additional protection.

No. Upon arrival, each sample is carefully examined in the sample receipt area and bar-coded with accuracy to track them. The bar-coded samples are then sent for testing and processing without delay. The sample data are generated by an automated process. Thus, there is no chance for samples to get lost or misplaced in the lab.
To know more about the sample receipt process, read here

Yes. At LifeCell, we do not reject your sample if it is tested positive for Hepatitis but it could be used only for Autologous (self) purpose.

The samples might get rejected for reasons such as low volume, blood clot, Hemolysis of cord blood, contamination & absence of growth and differentiation for cord tissue. However, such situations are very rare.

The stem cells present in the cord blood sample have no expiry date so it can be stored till the day it is required for any treatment.

Yes. The stem cells of a sibling is only a partial match while one's own stem cell sample is a 100% match in case of any stem cell transplant, so it is advisable to store the stem cells of all the children to provide 100% protection.

Yes. Twins have 2 separate umbilical cords, so it is necessary to preserve stem cells of both the cords.

Yes. You can store your baby's stem cells with LifeCell regardless of the country of birth. We can arrange express transport of cord blood samples from anywhere around the world.

In public cord blood banks, a repository of the donor units is created. Patients can look up this repository for a matching unit. If a match is found, the unit will be released to the patient for a fee. The person who donated does not have any ownership over the stem cells

Approximately a week after performing procedures such as HLA matching for cord blood & cord tissue and cell expansion that are required for the treatment.

LifeCell Stem Cell Bank

  • Why should I choose LifeCell for stem cell banking?

  • What are the other benefits of storing stem cells at LifeCell?

  • Will power shortage or system failure in the facility affects the stored stem cells?

  • What are the other services offered to the parents?

LifeCell offers unmatched care and support for your baby's precious stem cell, some of which are:

  • Round the clock paramedic support
  • X-ray free express shipment
  • High stem cell recovery
  • Assurance of cellular expansion
  • Two site storage facilities at Chennai & Gurgaon

There are many benefits available for clients who store their children's stem cells. At LifeCell, we provide:

  • A medical insurance of Rs. 2 million will be provided at the time of stem cell transplant for the baby and other family members.
  • In case, if the stored stem cells are not viable at the time of retrieval, LifeCell provides a guarantee of Rs. 2 million which can be used to purchase matching unit from any other public cord blood banks.
  • A free worldwide shipment option for stem cell transplant.
  • Transplant related medical information through medical concierge service.
  • At the time of transplant, LifeCell will help in stem cell expansion for free.
  • There are many more benefits available for LifeCell clients.

To ensure that power failures do not have any impact on the temperature required for storing stem cells, LifeCell labs are equipped with the following:

  • Two generators and UPS back up with diesel storage tank sufficient for 15 days
  • Additional solar power panel back up.
  • Any difference in temperature is monitored by software which triggers an automated SMS/Email to Department Manager/Maintenance dept/HOD to ensure that immediate action is taken.

At LifeCell, apart from cord blood banking, we also offer:

Babyshield: It is a simple, non-invasive test that screens the baby for over 50 metabolic and genetic conditions, which if left undetected could affect the growth and development of the baby.

Femme: This is a special service applicable for women, offered by LifeCell to protect their invaluable stem cells found in their monthly menstrual blood. If you have not banked your cord blood stem cells then this is a second choice to make it right.