For most parents, banking their baby’s umbilical cord blood and cord tissue is a new experience. At first glance, the process may seem complicated; however, it is actually fairly simple for the parents. Most mothers are worried about how the delivery will go and don’t want to also be worried about the details of collecting, processing and cryopreserving their baby’s cord blood. Thankfully, the healthcare provider and the cord blood bank do most of the work.
The banking process can be broken down into the following five steps:
Some initial information is required to enroll. Our enrollments are risk-free—nothing will be charged until the cord blood and cord tissue have been received, processed, and cryo-preserved. If the family later decides not to store, the collection kit should be returned to Cryo-Cell immediately to avoid any fees.
In the collection kit, you will find a client agreement, which needs to be completed and mailed to the cord blood bank as soon as possible. In addition, you will find forms for the client and doctor to fill out at the time of delivery. These forms go over the health history of the family and collection data and provide other necessary medical details.
The parents should also notify their doctor of their plans to store their baby's cord blood and tissue. The physician may want the parents to bring the kit with them during one of their checkups to see the kit and the forms he or she will have to fill out after collecting the cord blood and cord tissue.
The collection kit should be stored in a dry place at room temperature and be brought to the hospital with the parents. A good place to store the collection kit is right near the hospital bag in the home.
Before delivery, maternal blood samples are collected to be tested for certain infectious diseases as mandated by federal regulations. To meet the highest international transplant standards, Cryo-Cell also collects and stores extra maternal blood samples.
Immediately following the birth but before the placenta is delivered, the cord blood is collected from the baby’s umbilical cord by the healthcare provider. After the placenta is delivered, the cord tissue is then collected. There is absolutely no pain or risk to the mother or child during the collection process because the blood is taken from the cord after it has been clamped and cut. Cord blood and cord tissue collections are safe for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.
Within two hours of delivery, a call should be made to Cryo-Cell to arrange for the medical courier to come and pick up the collection kit. This call should be made any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cryo-Cell's toll free number is listed on the outside of the collection kit for convenience. The medical courier will often provide a four-hour window for his or her arrival. The medical courier will come to the parents' location in the hospital, so the parents should keep the collection kit with them until that time.
The medical courier will then see to the proper transportation of the collection kit to the Cryo-Cell laboratory.
Testing and Processing
Usually within 36 to 48 hours of collection, the cord blood and tissue are tested, processed, and cryogenically stored.
- Maternal blood is tested for infectious diseases.
- Each cord blood and cord tissue specimen is tested for microbiological contamination.
- The cord blood is then processed to maximize the recovery of stem cells by Cryo-Cell’s specialized laboratory technologists.
- Since recent studies have shown that regenerative medicine is most effective with a mix of stem cell types (simulating the teamwork taking place within our organs and tissues), Cryo-Cell stores the umbilical cord tissue in its entirety to preserve all its cell types and maximize future health options.
Both the cord blood and cord tissue are overwrapped for extra protection against cross-contamination during storage. All specimens are stored in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen for cryogenic preservation, at temperatures below −170 degrees Celsius, or approximately −274 degrees Fahrenheit. Cryobags with multiple removable segments are used to facilitate cryopreservation and potential future blood type matching and testing. All collections are stored in our state-of-the-art storage facility.
Cryo-Cell also collects and stores additional maternal blood and retains the cord blood's residual plasma and red blood cells that are routinely discarded by other cord blood banks. We are the only private cord blood bank that takes these measures during the banking process because we want to preserve additional samples for the possible future benefit of our clients including any future developments in medical science. Here is how a family may one day benefit from these additional samples:
- Additional transplant matching criteria (HLA antigens) could be established by regulators.
- New ways of discovering agents of disease could prevent infectious stem cells from being transplanted to another family member.
- Genetic testing could be needed for the mother or the child.
- Research into the presense of precusors for a debilitating disease in the mother or the child at birth may be necessary.
- Re-tests may be required because of misidentification caused by hospital errors or questionable lab results.
It is believed that stem cells can be successfully stored indefinitely and retain viability upon thaw. A recent study of cord blood stem cells at Indiana University demonstrated its viability after 23.5 years of cryogenic storage. Furthermore, bone marrow and human fertility cells haves been stored for decades and remained viable— there is no reason to believe that the same would not be true of cord blood and cord tissue.
You're all set!
Within 4–6 weeks of collection, the family will receive a preservation certificate. Included in the certificate are processing results, including the total stem cell counts being cryopreserved and safeguarded at Cryo-Cell.
In order to preserve more types and quantity of umbilical cord stem cells and to maximize possible future health options, Cryo-Cell’s umbilical cord tissue service provides expectant families with the opportunity to cryogenically store their newborn’s umbilical cord tissue cells contained within substantially intact cord tissue. Should umbilical cord tissue cells be considered for potential utilization in a future therapeutic application, further laboratory processing may be necessary. Regarding umbilical cord tissue, all private blood banks’ activities for New York State residents are limited to collection, processing, and long-term storage of umbilical cord tissue stem cells. The possession of a New York State license for such collection, processing and long-term storage does not indicate approval or endorsement of possible future uses or future suitability of these cells.