Stem cell collection – What’s involved?
How does stem cell collection work?
We understand that the birth of your baby will be one of the most significant days of your life. That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring a seamless stem cell collection service from beginning to end.
Stem cell collection has no impact upon your birth plan and will never interfere with bonding between you and your baby after the birth. In fact, the cord blood collection procedure takes place in a separate room, after the third stage of labour.
If you want to choose delayed or optimal cord clamping, our CellsPlus option is the first cord blood banking service in the world to be completely compatible.
Stem cell harvesting at birth could not be easier, yet it could save your baby’s life.
Stem cell collection with Cells4Life
We will organise everything for you from the moment you choose stem cell collection for your baby.
On the big day, your only responsibility will be to bring your Collection Kit with you. If you need a phlebotomist, we will provide one. All you need to do is call them when you go into labour. They make sure they are there in time for your baby’s birth. Once your baby is born, your phlebotomist or consultant will perform the stem cell collection using the items found in your collection kit. Then all you have to do is call our courier service and we will be there to pick up the sample.
We will take care of everything else for you.
And if you need any additional support with collecting stem cells at birth, we are at the end of the phone 24/7, 365 days per year.
In preparation for collecting stem cells at birth
2. Order your stem cell collection kit
In your Welcome Pack, we have enclosed two copies of our Service Agreement and the Phlebotomy Service Terms and Conditions. These are legal documents, so please read them fully and raise any questions you may have with us about stem cell collection. Please complete and sign each section of the Service Agreement before returning it to us with your initial payment. Alternatively, give us a call on 01444 873950 and we can send you a copy of our digital consent form to complete online and take the initial payment over the phone. We will also run through the entire cord blood collection procedure with you, so that you understand what will happen on the day.
Once the forms and deposit have been received, we will send you your Collection Kit via next day delivery and set up your phlebotomy service immediately.
3. Advise your hospital
At your next hospital appointment, please make them aware of your desire to collect stem cells as part of your birthing plan. We will also provide you with a letter to confirm this to the hospital, which notifies them of your request and introduces Cells4Life as your stem cell bank.
On the day of stem cell collection
4. Going to hospital
When you go into labour and head off to hospital, you need to remember to bring your Collection Kit with you. If you require a phlebotomist, you also need to let them know that you are on the way and when they should arrive to perform the stem cell collection.
5. Collecting cord blood
Following the birth of your baby and delivery of the placenta, your healthcare professional will use the Collection Kit to collect the cord blood, tissue and a maternal blood sample. They will then carefully pack them into our specially prepared transport bags ready for courier collection. The whole cord blood collection procedure takes between 20 and 30 minutes to perform.
6. Call courier
As soon as possible after the sample has been packaged, you can arrange immediate pick-up with our dedicated courier, who will hand-deliver this to a Cells4Life laboratory technician. This is a 24-hour service, operating 365 days per year. Please make sure that you keep the Collection Kit with you at all times, and hand it directly to the courier. Do not leave it at the hospital reception desk.
7. Testing and cryopreservation
We process all stem cells within 24 hours for UK clients, although most are processed within 12 hours. First, we assess the viability of your child’s stem cells. Then we create individual samples and store them using ‘cryopreservation’ – a process of freezing the cells and tissue in liquid nitrogen to stop all biological activity. The cells are maintained in this state until they are required.
A maternal sample is taken either before or after the phlebotomist finishes stem cell harvesting. All samples are tested using the latest instrumentation and assays. In addition, Cells4Life uses specialist reference laboratories for additional testing if required.
At home, following stem cell collection
9. Initial results
Within two working days of collecting the stem cells at birth, you will receive a phone call to let you know the initial viability results of your new baby’s sample. We will also send these results to you in the post.
10. Contamination testing
For up to 14 days after the arrival of your sample, a tiny portion will undergo contamination testing. Whilst contaminations are rare, if your sample does contain one, we will let you know the bacterium and its implications for use in treatment. You can then decide whether to store or destroy the stem cell sample. If you choose to have it destroyed, you will receive a full refund of the processing, testing and storage fees.
11. Certificate of testing
Once testing is complete and full payment is received, you will receive a Cells4Life Umbilical Cord Blood (and Tissue) Testing Certificate for your child’s samples. This is a record of the test results.
When should I set up stem cell collection?
It’s never too late to set-up your service. Cells4Life can organise delivery of your collection kit and arrange for a phlebotomist to carry out the cord blood collection procedure within 24 hours. Simply call us on 01444 873950 to get started. That being said, the sooner you go ahead the better, as it makes the process as simple and stress free as possible on the big day.
How much does stem cell collection cost?
Our services start from just £1495 plus an annual storage fee of £65 for cord blood and £100 for cord blood and cord tissue. The deposit to get everything set up is only £195 and you can spend the remaining cost over the course of up to 12 months.
How are stem cells collected?
Following the safe delivery of your baby, whether it is a natural birth or a C-section, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. The phlebotomist begins by preparing the area around them and lays out the equipment in your Collection Kit. They clean your baby’s umbilical cord and placenta with sterilising wipes to reduce the risk of introducing any contaminants when taking the blood.
The phlebotomist collects the blood by inserting the blood bag needle into the umbilical vein. The bag is held below the placenta to allow blood to pass into the bag via gravity flow. Once the blood ceases to drain, your phlebotomist seals the bag and disposes of the needle. The sample is labelled and placed into a protective overwrap. For cord tissue, a long undamaged section of the umbilical cord is cut.
It is cleaned thoroughly and placed into the tissue pot along with saline solution. The pot is labelled and overwrapped, and both samples are packaged back into your collection kit. Once the stem cell collection has taken place, both the collected cord blood and cord tissue are packed carefully and transported via our courier service to the Cells4Life laboratory.
What information will I receive about my baby’s stem cell sample?
We will contact you within two working days of processing the sample to let you know the results. This includes the volume of blood received, the viability of cells, and the maternal test results. After 7-14 days, we will also provide sterility testing results and after full payment, a certificate of storage.