FAQ on Cord Blood Banking

Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are majority of the cells that can be found in cord blood. Therefore, when you decide to bank your baby's cord blood, you are banking HSCs in case a medical therapy is required for the treatment of over 80 diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma.

In contract, Epithelial stem cells (EpSCs) and Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are abundant in the umbilical cord. These cells have demonstrated the potential to repair or replace damaged tissue and organs.

According to documentation in scientific literatures, stem cell samples stored for about 15 years appear identical stored for one week. If properly stored at cryogenic temperature below -135°C, it is believed by the scientific community that cord blood can be stored indefinitely.

Source: Broxmeyer HE, Srour EF, Hangoc G, et. al. 2002. High-efficiency recovery of functional hematopoietic progenitor and stem cell from human cord blood cryopreserved for 15 years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 100/2. 645-650.

Samples of maternal blood also need to be drawn within 48 hours prior or after your baby’s delivery. The maternal blood will be tested for a battery of infectious diseases, including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Cytomegalovirus, Syphilis and HTLV. These tests are the basic requirement in determining the safety and quality of the collected cord blood for future use. It will be conducted by our appointed HOKLAS and CAP accredited facility in Hong Kong.

Stem cell transplantation This is done to rebuild a patient’s blood and immune system, following treatment such as chemotherapy, which destroys blood cells. The Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are infused directly into the patient’s blood stream, which hopefully will migrate to the bone marrow. Inside the bone marrow, the HSCs begin to differentiate into blood and immune cells which will induce the regeneration of the blood and immune system.

Cellular therapy and regenerative medicine Cellular therapy is about using stem cells as an alternative natural source to treat diseases. Regenerative medicine is about repairing damaged tissue or organs. Both these methods are being actively researched in many clinical trials.

In studies for indications such as spinal cord injury and heart attack, stem cells have been directly injected into the damaged tissue. Some of the benefits experienced appear to be due to new blood vessel formation, which restores blood flow to the damaged tissue. To date, the majority of these therapies require the patient’s own stem cells, not those from a doctor.

Cord blood is blood that remains in the umbilical cord following the birth of a baby and after the umbilical cord is cut. During pregnancy, the umbilical cord functions as a lifeline between mother and child. After a baby’s delivery, the cord blood present in the umbilical cord could offer hope for the child and maybe members of the family.

Cord blood is a rich source of Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs), which are primarily responsible for replenishing blood and regenerating the immune system. They have the unique ability to differentiate into various cell types found in blood as depicted in the diagram below:

      • Red blood cells – which transport oxygen
      • White blood cells – which produce antibodies and fight bacteria
      • Platelets – which assist blood clotting
      • A guaranteed match for autologous transplants (where the donor and recipient are the same individual)
      • A readily available supply of stored haematopoietic stem cells. This compares well to having to do a national or international search which is costly and time-consuming in an already time critical situation.
      • Lower risk of Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD) for allogeneic transplants, a situation where the transplanted tissue attacks the patient’s own tissue.
      • Ease of collection, which is pain-free and risk-free to both mother and child.
      • Umbilical cord blood stem cells are younger, have a higher rate of engraftment and are more tolerant to tissue mismatches, compared to other types of stem cells, e.g. bone marrow.
      • Replace and regenerate damaged or diseased bone marrow
      • Treatment for blood cancers
      • Correct genetic defects (sibling/allogeneic transplantation)
      • Potential for cellular therapy and regenerative medicine
      • Stem cell rescue reconstitutes a patient’s blood and immune system
      • This is carried out after chemotherapy and radiotherapy which destroy blood cells
      • Stem cells are infused intravenously into the patient’s blood stream
      • Once in the blood stream, they migrate to the bone marrow
      • They then differentiate into three blood cell types – red, white (blood cells) and platelets
      • The differentiation initiates the regeneration of the patient’s blood and immune system

The list of diseases treated by stem cells can be found here.

Immediately after the delivery of your baby, the cord is clamped and your baby separated from the cord and moved from the birthing area. The doctor then collects the umbilical cord blood by inserting a needle into the cord vein, and draining the blood into a blood bag.

This procedure is painless and risk-free to both you and your baby. It takes about 3 minutes and does not alter the birthing process in any way. It can be done with either a vaginal or caesarean delivery.

Please note that the final decision of whether the cord blood collection should take place will always reside with your caregiver whose first priority is the safety of you and your baby.

*Cordlife staff is only responsible for cord blood unit delivery; entire collection process will be done by therapists.

Stem cell isolation is a critical step in cord blood banking. It affects the number of stem cells that can be harvested or recovered from the cord blood. Cell recovery rates are critical because a higher number of stem cells could enhance the success of the transplant or treatment. That's why Cordlife has invested in the SepaxTM automated stem cell processing technology, a safe, sterile and fully automated cord blood processing technology – so you get more stem cells for maximum transplant success

This Swiss-made and U.S. FDA-cleared device can recover as high as 99%1 of Total Nucleated Cells (TNC) from cord blood. It is also a functionally closed processing system which ensures the sterility of the cord blood by eliminating exposure to air contaminants.

References

      1. Cordlife umbilical cord blood processing data as at 31 December 2010

 

Cordlife uses the U.S. FDA approved cryogenic storage pouch. This multi-compartmentalised cryobag has 20% and 80% compartments. This cryobag also has 2 integrally attached segments which are in compliance with AABB and FACT-Netcord standards. This dual compartment addresses the stem cell expansion programmes in future. That means that when this stem cell expansion technology is commercially viable, you can withdraw 80% of the stem cells for immediate use /treatment while continuing to store the 20% balance for later expansion.

The integral segments also provide the safety and assurance that additional product testing is performed on the associated unit thereby eliminating testing and cord blood unit mix ups. This is to allow for additional testing of the sample should it be required in the future, or for viability testing prior to a transplant. This storage pouch is made of a special material designed specifically to withstand cryogenic temperatures.

Your baby’s cord blood is stored in vacuum insulated cryogenic storage tanks, and are designed to remain at optimal cryogenic temperature of below -150° for cell storage over long periods. Cordlife uses MVE Vapour-phase Liquid Nitrogen Storage System for long-term stem cell cryopreservation.

Vapour-phase storage is preferred over liquid-phase storage1 as it eliminates the chance of cross contamination between cord blood units as compared with those stored in liquid nitrogen.

The MVE Anti-contamination Vapour-phase Liquid Nitrogen Storage System can operate even without electrical supply, and is 100% reliable and failsafe with no chance of robotic malfunction. Unlike other storage systems available in the market today, our tanks have never been recalled by the U.S. FDA or the manufacturer.

Reference

      1. Best practices for Repositories I: Collection, Storage, and Retrieval of Human Biological Materials for Research

Theoretically, the shelf-life of cells stored at liquid nitrogen temperatures has been estimated to be of 1,000 years1.

In recent studies, it is found that there is efficient recovery from cord blood stem cells cryopreserved up to 21-23.5years2.

Reference:

      1. Jens O.M. Karlsson, Mehmet Toner, Long-term storage of tissues by cryopreservation: critical issues. Biomaterials 17 (1996) 243-256.
      2. Hal E. Broxmeyer, Man-Ryul Lee, Giao Hangoc, et. al., Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, and isolation of endothelial progenitors from 21- to 23.5- year cryopreserved cord blood. Blood 2011 117:4773-4777. Doi:10.1182/blood-2011-01-330514

You may still continue to store your baby's cord blood (with additional consent given to Cordlife), or elect to discard the umbilical cord blood unit.

This is because Cordlife conducts two different tests for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) on maternal blood, namely:

      • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg)
      • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (Anti-HBc (Total))

Usually, the attending transplant physician will make the decision whether to use a cord blood unit where the maternal blood was tested positive for Hepatitis B for transplant, based on various factors particular to the patient, the cord blood unit intended for use, and the availability of other HLA-matched donor.

Please call 24-Hour Hotline,

  • HK(852) 3980 2888
  • Macau(853) 6233 8754.

Alternatively, you can also send an email to JLIB_HTML_CLOAKINGThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for our latest savings plans.

 

The continuation of storage of your child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells is of utmost importance to us. In the unlikely event that Cordlife ceases its operations, Cordlife may assign its rights under the Agreement to another provider of cord blood banking storage facilities as long as that provider meets the necessary standards at the relevant time.

The ownership of the cord blood will be transferred over to your child once he/she reaches the legal adult age of 18 years and upon the renewal of the agreement. Your child will be prompted to continue storage thereafter at the prevailing fees.

Cordlife’s processing and storage facility in Hong Kong and Singapore1are registered in AABB and Ministry of Health Singapore respectively. In addition, our facility in Hong Kong is certified by ISO9001:2008. This ensures that Cordlife adheres to the highest standards for private cord blood banking.

Reference
1Managed by Cordlife Group Limited

  • The First private cord blood bank in Hong Kong that released cord blood unit to clients for a course of chemotherapy in January 2011 at Queen Mary Hospital after the united stored for 29 months.
  • Released over 250 cord blood units for treatment of various diseases.
  • The Only cord blood bank owned by Singapore Exchange Main Board listed company with financial stability required for long-term business presence.
Reference:
*This includes Cordlife and its associates.

Contact us at our 24-Hour Hotline HK(852) 3980 2888 | Macau(853) 6233 8754 or you can email us JLIB_HTML_CLOAKINGThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make an appointment with our Cord Blood Banking Consultant.

* If you are due within the next 4 - 6 weeks, we strongly recommend you to contact us immediately for enrollment because this will ensure all necessary steps are completed before your baby's arrival.

No.
As lack of manpower in public hospital, babies birthed in public hospital are not allow to use private cord blood storage service.

Following are the list of private hospital which provide private cord blood storage service:
Hong Kong
Matilda Hospital
Sanatorium Hospital
Canossa Hospital
HK Adventist Hospital
TW Adventist Hospital
St.Paul's Hospital
St.Teresa's Hospital
Union Hospital
Baptist Hospital
Caritas Precious Blood Hospital

Macau
Kiang Wu Hospital
Conde S. Januario General Hospital

For pregnant moms are going to deliver in public hospital, can reach Red Cross for cord blood donation*, but such service only available at :
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Kwong Wah Hospital
Prince of Wales Hospital
United Christian Hospital
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital

*Cord blood donation means ownership of the donated cord blood belongs to Hong Kong Red Cross, donars are not prior to use.