Did you know? A few years back 97% of cord blood was thrown out as medical waste1 which could have been a potential cure for more than 80+ diseases? Your baby’s umbilical cord blood is rich in life-saving stem cells that have powerful regenerative properties which can potentially cure many diseases. This is why many parents are making a conscious decision to preserve the ‘holy grail’ of life. It's a decision that may provide lifetime protection to the baby and the entire family from the impact of many medical conditions. Are you too mulling about cord blood banking but don’t know how the process works? Then let us give you all the necessary details to help you decide quickly. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is essentially the blood that remains in the umbilical cord of the baby after delivery and is rich in life-saving stem cells. The US FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approves the use of cord blood for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation procedures for diseases including blood disorders, blood cancers, immune deficiency, and metabolic disorders.2
It might surprise you, but cord blood banking is not as complex as it sounds. In fact, the sample collection process itself is quick and hassle-free. It causes no pain or harm to the baby and the mother since the sample is collected after the cord is clamped and cut following delivery. Besides all this, the first step that kick-starts your cord blood banking journey is choosing the right cord blood bank.
Although making the right choice may not be as simple as it sounds, it’s not difficult either. For instance, start with comparing the benefits offered by different banks, the processing technology they use, or their experience in the field, among other things, to help you decide. LifeCell comes with nearly 2 decades of experience in stem cell banking. It provides a seamless experience right from registration and storage to timely access to your baby’s cord blood stem cells. Today, we will tell you how the cord blood is collected, processed, and stored at LifeCell with these 5 easy steps.
Cord Blood Banking Journey - 5 Steps That Define It!
Step-1 - Collection
Once you enrol with LifeCell for cord blood banking, you will receive a cord blood collection kit, which you need to carry at the time of delivery. The collected samples are then carefully labeled & packed in a sterile, puncture-proof, and temperature-controlled collection kit and handed over to the LifeCell paramedic.
The umbilical cord blood collection process is quick and painless. Shortly after delivery, the baby’s umbilical cord is clamped at both ends and cut. Using a sterile needle, the attending healthcare professional/gynaecologist will then draw out the blood into a cord blood collection bag. About 90 ml- 100ml (collection bag has a vol. capacity of 150ml) of blood is collected and sealed before the placenta is delivered.
The mother’s blood sample will also be collected and tested for infectious agents.
Step 2 - Shipment
The sample collection kit box is then transported from the hospital in a return-free shipment to Lifecell’s Chennai processing facility.
Step 3 - Testing
Once the shipped consignment reaches the LifeCell laboratory, it undergoes a thorough quality check. The consignment might be checked for leakages if any.
Thereafter, each cord blood bag received at the processing unit is evaluated by lab technicians for a cellular health check and a series of biochemical screening as a part of pre-storage processes.
Pre-storage testing parameters for all samples also include assessment of -
- Cellular Health
- Screening for Microbial Contamination
- Screening for Infections Agents
- Blood Grouping
Step 4 - Processing
After it passes the primary testing criteria, lab technicians perform processing. The cord blood processing needs to be completed within 48 hours of collection to maximize the recovery of stem cells.3
The first processing step is to extract the stem cells. At LifeCell, Prepacyte-CB technology is used to process cord blood units. It helps extract the maximum viable stem cells from the sample while reducing the Red Blood Cell (RBC) contamination by up to 99%4 (refer link below). This means that each collection yields more stem cells.
Step 5 - Storage & Sample Retrieval
Finally, the processed cord blood unit is prepared for cryopreservation. It is wrapped and sealed in cryo-bags (volume capacity:25ml), which are then frozen and transferred to cryo-vessels. The cells are frozen under -196℃ and preserved in vapor-phase liquid nitrogen within stainless steel cryo tanks.
At LifeCell, we always keep a sharp eye on the storage ambiance to avoid any repercussions. Our facility has a triple-layer power backup with a live temperature tracking system to keep you updated about the current well-being of your stored cord blood cells.
Also, LifeCell carries a reputation for having the highest retrieval experience. Before release, the cryo bags undergo several pre-release tests which include recipient HLA typing and a genetic screening test that covers sequence checks for 1000+ Inherited Genetic Disorders as part of the safe transplantation program.
It has successfully released 57 samples in India(across 13 hospitals in metro and non-metro cities) and 76 samples overseas. It also has a worldwide shipment experience with the US, Singapore, Thailand, and India where released samples are delivered free of cost, right at your doorstep.
How Long Can Cord Blood Be Stored?
When you choose LifeCell’s community stem cell banking program, your baby’s precious cord cells can be stored on an annual fee basis or for 21 years or 75 years depending on the storage program you choose.
What Else Should You Keep In Mind?
Despite the easy and simple collection and the great benefits of cord blood banking, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
- Ensure you decide to bank your baby's stem cells well before your due date.
- Talk to your OB-GYN about your decision well before delivery. They will then be prepared to collect cord blood at the time of birth.
Now that you know quite a bit about how your baby’s stem cells are processed, it’s time to consider banking them. At LifeCell, we have designed a seamless process to make stem cell banking simple, easy & worry-free. All you need to do is simply reach out to us!
- Donna Regan, Jonathan Wofford, Kathleen Fortune, Christianna Henderson, and Salem Akel. Clinical Evaluation of an Alternative Cord Blood Processing Method. SLCBB data presented at the AABB Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2011