Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. Cord blood contains stem cells that may be preserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies.1
The umbilical cord and placenta are rich sources of stem cells. The stem cells in cord blood can grow into blood and immune system cells, as well as other types of cells.2
Cord blood stem cells are biologically younger and are more flexible compared to adult stem cells from other sources like bone marrow. When saved, they have unique qualities and advantages:
• Less risk of complications when used in transplants3
• Immediately available and can minimize disease progression in early treatment4
• Preserving them “stops the clock” and protects the cells from aging and being exposed to environmental factors and common viruses that can decrease their function5
• Simple, safe, and painless to collect
3Rocha V, Wagner JE Jr, Sobocinski KA, et al. Graft-versus-host disease in children who have received a cord-blood or bone marrow transplant from an HLA-identical sibling. Eurocord and International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry Working Committee on Alternative Donor and Stem Cell Sources. N Engl J Med. 2000;342(25):1846-1854.
4Pazdur R, Coia L, Hoskins W, et al. Cancer management: a multidisciplinary approach. 1998. Second edition.
5Behzad-Behbahani A, Pouransari R, Tabei SZ, et al. Risk of viral transmission via bone marrow progenitor
cells versus umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow transplantation. Transplant Proc.
Cord blood stem cells have been successfully used in transplant medicine for more than 20 years. Cord blood has been used to treat many life-threatening diseases including leukemia, other cancers, blood disorders, metabolic disorders, and immune diseases.6 Click HERE for a list of the diseases, which can be treated using stem cell therapy today. Click HERE for a list of the diseases, which can be treated using stem cell therapy today.
Cord blood is being used in regenerative medicine research, where stem cells are being evaluated for their ability to induce healing and regenerate cells to repair tissues. Clinical trials are evaluating a child’s own cord blood stem cell infusions as experimental therapies to treat cerebral palsy, brain injury, juvenile diabetes, and acquired hearing loss.7 These are very exciting areas of research but do not guarantee that stem cells can be used to treat these conditions in the future.
Cord blood is an accepted source of stem cells for any of the diseases where stem cell transplants are a standard therapy. This covers a long list of oncology and hematology diagnoses.8 It is estimated that more than 30,000 cord blood transplantations have been performed worldwide since 1988.9
Any family member who is a suitable match may be able to use your baby’s cord blood stem cells for transplant medicine. Siblings are the most likely to be compatible matches, with 25% of these cases offering a perfect match. It is less likely that other family members will be a sufficient match, and there is no guarantee that an adequate stem cell match will be found for any given patient.
Your baby will always be a perfect match to his or her own stem cells and may use them for a number of diseases, however, not generally for inherited genetic conditions. In those cases, a matched sibling’s stem cells would be the first choice.10
HLA matching is the criteria used to determine donor and recipient compatibility. In cord blood, it generally refers to six proteins called human leukocyte antigens (HLA) that appear on the surface of white blood cells and other tissues in the body. A transplant will only be performed if there is an adequate HLA match between the donor and recipient. A perfect six out of six match is best. Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match.11
11 Harris D, Schumacher M, LoCascio J, et al. Phenotypic and functional immaturity of human umbilical cord blood T lymphocytes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 1992;89:10006-10010.
In keeping with the relevant official guidelines, the collection of mother’s blood for testing must be carried out before stem cells can be accepted for long term storage. This ensures the safety of your baby’s stem cells.
Immediately after the birth of your baby, after the cord is clamped and cut, the cord blood can be collected by a healthcare professional. The whole procedure takes less than 10 minutes.
Cord blood cannot be collected by the mother. We only allow Medicare trained healthcare professionals to collect the cord blood.
There is no risk to mother or child.
No having a caesarean section does not affect the collection process.
All samples are processed as soon as they are received at the laboratory in Future Health. We’ll notify you of your results within 2-3 days.
Future Health store your baby’s cord blood cells as two separate samples, in two separate tanks, in two separate storage areas.
The percentage rate of failure is very low, less than 10%. The main reason for unsuccessful storage is that not enough cord blood was collected. Neither we nor the attending healthcare professional can fully control the amount of cord blood collected. Future Health will process all samples received even if the sample is below their recommended limit. Medicare will then inform you as soon as the sample has been processed and, if the sample falls below Future Health’s recommended limit we will inform you at that time.
You, the parent/guardian(s), control the stem cells until your child reaches the age of 18. From then on your child will control them. All samples are processed and stored onsite at the Future Health laboratory and are never sent to a third party.
It has been confirmed that cord blood stem cells were still viable after being frozen for 23+ years.12
When the cord blood arrives at Future Health, a small sample is taken to perform microbiology tests to ensure that the sample was not contaminated during collection. If the cord blood was contaminated then we may not be able to store the sample, depending on the type of contamination. We would contact you and discuss it further. Cord blood volume and cell count tests are also performed to ensure that the procedure has been successful.
Future Health uses the type of tank that does not require any electricity to run and will remain at the required temperature even if power is not available to the facility around it. They have full monitoring systems, which themselves are protected through back-up power supplies.
Future Health has strong financial backing and is expanding rapidly. However, in the unlikely event that Future Health should cease trading, you would be able to take your samples and move them to another stem cell bank. The fact that Future Health adhere strictly to the UK Department of Health Guidelines makes it possible for you to store your sample in any similarly accredited cord blood stem cell bank.
Future Health’s Agreement with you extensively deals with all your legal rights and procedures to be followed.
Medicare Bio Health (a registered trade name of Medicare Health & Living Ltd.), is authorised under the European Communities (Quality and Safety of Human Tissues and Cells) Regulations 2006; to provide the services of cord blood stem cell preservation. Thus we ensure that the healthcare professional procuring your child’s cord blood on your behalf has been trained accordingly and meets the requirements set out in the Regulations. We provide a one-to-one professional service to our clients and are with you from the moment you decide to store you child’s cord blood, continuing throughout the storage period.
Future Health Biobank is HTA Licensed and MHRA accredited and one of the world’s most advanced, private family stem cell storage facilities.
Medicare Bio Health is in partnership with Aviva , whereby Aviva offers to members on some Aviva
plans a contribution towards the cost of our cord blood stem cell preservation service, (mum must be a
member and waiting periods may apply). For more information contact Aviva on 1850 71 66 66.
To ensure that you receive your collection kit on time, it is important that you contact a member of the stem cell team on 01-2014900 at least two months in advance of your due date. At this time, a Medicare Bio Health staff member will then talk you through the forms that need to be completed and returned so that your collection kit can be delivered to you as soon as possible. Late applications within 8 weeks of your due date will incur extra charges to be agreed at the time of booking.
Future Health BioBank are HTA Licensed and MHRA accredited and one of the world’s most advanced, private family stem cell storage facilities.