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How does cord blood banking work?


Did you know it only takes a few short minutes to give your child protection that lasts a lifetime? We can collect and safely store your baby’s cord blood and tissue to give you a life’s worth of peace of mind, thanks to a simple, painless process laid out in a kit containing all the equipment and advice you need. Here is everything you want to know about how the cord blood banking process works.

What is the cord blood collection process?

The last thing you need, when you’re expecting a child, is a complex extra process to worry about. That’s why we’ve made collecting cord blood so beautifully simple. Our stem cell collection process lets you focus on your new baby at every stage, thanks to an umbilical cord blood Collection Kit that contains everything you need to share with your birth partner, and the healthcare professional who will collect the cord blood, cord tissue and maternal blood sample.

To get your kit simply sign up to our service here or ask for a brochure here.

What does an umbilical cord blood collection kit contain?

It’s wise to order a Collection Kit as soon as possible after your twenty week scan, to give you plenty of time to go through the instructions and ask questions. If you, your midwife, phlebotomist or other healthcare professional wants to know more, we’re always delighted to help – just ask them to contact us.

Our cord blood collection kits are approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and each one is carefully checked in our lab before being sent out. It contains all this:

  • Exciting education material 
  • Instructions for the other people involved 
  • An umbilical cord blood collection bag
  • A sterile swab and a gauze swab
  • A tube clamp
  • If you need it, a cord collection kit
  • A drape to keep the environment sterile 
  • A maternal blood sample kit
  • A temperature monitoring probe

Because the kit qualifies as an approved medical device, you shouldn’t open it until you actually need it.

Please pack your Collection Kit in your hospital bag ready for the birth. You might end up with a different midwife or phlebotomist so make sure you include the instructions and education material. The moment you go into labour your birthing partner should get in touch with the phlebotomist, then keep them informed as labour progresses. 

When will the umbilical cord blood be collected?

Your midwife must be 100% happy with your health and your baby’s well-being before they collect the cord tissue and blood. It’s usually done either before or after the placenta has been delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. There’s no need to clamp early and your partner is still welcome to take part if they want to ceremonially cut the child’s umbilical cord.

The midwife, doctor or phlebotomist will collect and label your cord blood, cord tissue and maternal blood sample ready to be sent to our lab in a pre-paid thermally insulated pack.

How is your baby’s cord blood tested and processed?

As soon as the samples have been collected and both you and your baby are safe and well, your birthing partner lets our courier know so they can come and collect it. Once everything arrives at our lab we transfer it to a sterile environment. Then we give it a unique barcode before processing it to test for microbiological contamination and checking the concentration of stem cells.

How does a cord blood bank store stem cells?

How is cord blood stored? As soon as we know for sure your baby’s stem cells are healthy and plentiful, we store them in tamper-evident bags, labelling them carefully before freezing them. The cord blood banking process itself involves preserving the cells in vapour phase liquid nitrogen in our UK based stem cell banking laboratory. We only remove the cells from storage when they’re needed to help resolve a medical problem for your child or another family member.

We keep you informed at every stage and contact you when the cord blood and tissue has been successfully stored. You’ll be sent a full set of test results for your records and we’ll also provide a unique cord blood banking storage certificate as proof of safety and security.

How long can umbilical cord blood be stored?

It’s up to you. You can choose to bank the tissue and cord blood for either 25 or 50 years, and we also offer an annual storage option.

Let’s take that wonderful first step!

For your peace of mind, for your child’s future health, the first step is your decision. Why not explore our website for more insight or get in touch to order your collection kit?

BSc (Hons) Microbiology

Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.


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Our hope is that the information in this brochure will empower you as you weigh-up your cord blood and tissue storage options and prepare for your family’s healthy future.

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