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FAQs

We are always happy to discuss any aspect of cord blood banking.

Here are some of our most FAQs

What is the difference between a private and public cord blood bank?

Private cord blood banks store the umbilical cord blood for the donor’s own use. This provides the benefit of being a 100% genetic match for the donor, and a much better chance of being a suitable match should a sibling require the stem cells.
Public banks store donated umbilical cord blood, it is available for anyone around the world to use. This means that it may not be available for the donor’s use if required. At the present time public banks do not offer the opportunity to donate cord tissue. In the UK there is the NHS Cord Blood Bank and the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank.
Private and public banks are not in competition for umbilical cord blood, it is the actual collection of the cord blood that is the limiting factor for the public banks in the UK. Although the number of hospitals in which you can donate your baby’s cord blood is growing there are still only a handful of hospitals that can collect cord blood.

Some companies store umbilical cord blood samples in two separate locations – why don’t Biovault Family do this?

We take the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of your child’s cord blood sample very seriously. When your sample is stored with Biovault Family, you can rest assured that it will be processed and cryopreserved as soon as possible after the birth of your baby, in order to maximise the sample’s viability for future use. If a section of the sample were to be transported to another location, this would be after the controlled freezing process – at a time when the sample is very delicate, and the risk of damage to the sample is high. Therefore, we believe that it is best to protect the sample within its allocated storage location, so that it’s safe & ready if you ever need it.

 

How will my child’s umbilical cord blood sample be transported to the laboratory?

Biovault Family use a specialist courier service, and make all necessary arrangements for you – all you need to do is notify us once the sample is ready for collection by the courier. We will then dispatch a dedicated driver to you, whose sole responsibility it is to collect the parcel containing your sample and facilitate the transportation of this parcel back to the laboratory. Our target transit time to get the sample back to our laboratory is 48 hours with 24 hours contingency.
The collection kit we provide includes a fully validated courier box for the return of the sample, which is made from high-tech thermally insulating material. This material ensures that the sample is kept at a suitable constant temperature throughout the duration of the transportation period, minimising cell damage from the moment the sample is packed into the box to its receipt at the laboratory for processing.
*Please note that courier service options may vary for international customers.”

How can I be sure my cord blood and/or tissue samples would continue to be stored safely if Biovault Family were to cease trading?

This is where Biovault Family is unique and stands out from other companies providing cord blood & cord tissue banking in the private sector.
We know that you are investing in the future of your baby’s and family’s health. This is a long term investment and you need to be sure that your investment is safe. Biovault Family has set up an Escrow Account with a separate company, where the storage element of the money you pay to us goes into an account which is held in trust by an independent third party ensuring that there are sufficient funds to carry on storing your stem cells whatever happens to us.

 Have you released any samples for transplant?

 

Yes we have. We have released 10 cord blood units that have been processed and stored at our facility on behalf of clients. We have released two samples in 2013 to treat Cerebral Palsy.

Is it possible to store cord tissue in addition to storing the cord blood?

Biovault Family does provide the option of storing your baby’s cord tissue.

Research is being carried out to find out how cord tissue could potentially be applied in the future for therapeutic use. At present however, there is no proven clinical use. Parents do request that we store cord tissue on their behalf although they are informed that there is no current clinical use.

When should you contact Biovault Family to find out more about the cord blood banking services?

After you have had your 20 week scan. After this period the sooner you contact us the better to ensure that we have everything in place before your baby is born. You can call us or request through the website for us to call you.

How does the process work?

We will send you an information pack that will contain everything you need to read, complete and return to us in order to join Biovault Family. Once you are entirely happy and we have received everything we will then take the first payment for the kit. We will then send you a collection kit for you to take with you to hospital when you go into labour, as soon as you sign up.

How do you plan for the day of collection?

When you go into labour, if you are using a healthcare professional arranged through us you or your partner will need to call the number we provide you with to inform us that you have gone into labour and are in hospital. You can then be assured that they will do the rest to ensure a successful collection.

What happens after Biovault receives the cord blood?

Once we have successfully processed and stored the stem cells we will contact you to let you know everything is OK. Once all the test results have been reported we will contact you for the final payment and then send you your baby’s stem cell storage certificate.

What tests do you carry out on the mother’s blood?

We are required by the regulations in the UK to test the mother’s blood for HIV I & II, Hepatitis B & C, Syphilis and HTLV (human T lymphotrophic virus).

Why is the storage period only for 25 years?

Our storage terms are based on the most current clinical evidence available and as this scientific evidence changes we will change our terms to match this appropriately. Currently the longest cells of this type have been stored for is around 28 years. After 25 years, we will contact you to see if you wish to continue to store.

Who controls the use of the preserved cord blood stem cells?

The mother, as the child’s guardian, has control over the stem cells, until the child is of legal age. Stem cells will not be released by Biovault without the mother’s consent or the child’s consent, once they reach legal age.

Do you store whole blood?

Biovault Family does not store whole blood, in line with the majority of public banks around the world it volume reduces the cord blood.

Find out why you shouldn’t store whole blood here.

For more information please visit the HTA site

What happens if I move abroad?

This is not a problem. If you ever need the cord stem cells for therapy, they will be shipped in a vessel that keeps them frozen for up to 5 days (this will cover transporting the cells to virtually anywhere in the world), so there will be no loss of viability. The cells are only thawed at the clinic where they will be used.

What if my midwife refuses to collect the cord blood?

Simply call us and we can put you in touch with a phlebotomy company who can arrange to perform the collection for you.

What happens in the event of a disaster?

We have made sure that we are prepared for any major incident by carrying out a comprehensive risk analysis to ensure that cord blood samples remain as secure as possible and that they remain unaffected by any adverse event. For this reason we have published a Business Continuity Plan which is also sometimes referred to as a Disaster Recovery Plan.
This fully comprehensive plan looks at all known eventualities including power and gas outage, fire, floods, and server breakdown. We have contracts with trusted companies who will support us if required. All single points of failure have been eliminated to ensure that our processes are not affected by equipment failure. There is an onsite Uninterrupted Power Supply that, in the event of a short term power failure, will allow us to complete any critical processes. In the event of a long term power cut, we are able to restore power within 4 hours using a mobile generator connected directly to our power distribution boards.

 

 

All of our quality system, records, client and patient data is backed up locally and also securely backed up to a remote data recovery centre. This centre provides us with a work area recovery should our offices become inaccessible. This quiet office space gives us access to all of our records so that we can calmly get on with running the business and keeping our clients informed of the situation.
All cryogenic vessels utilised onsite are the latest design and are capable of running without supply for up to two weeks. The Liquid Nitrogen levels can be monitored manually, as can filling, meaning there is never any risk to the cord blood samples during a Power or Liquid Nitrogen Supply outage.
This is just a brief outline of the detail that has gone into our business continuity planning, however if you would like to know more, or have a specific question then please contact us and our customer care team would be happy to answer your query.