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Tag Archive: Cord Blood Banking

  1. Umbilical Cord Blood: How long can UCB stem cells be stored?

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    By Michael Bardetti-Nixon BSc. LIBMS, Biovault Technical Ltd., Technical Manager / Persons Designate

    If you are already considering storing your eagerly awaited baby’s cord blood, the next question is, how long for? Does it expire? Biovault offer a range of storage terms. Arrangements can always be made at the end of the term, but what’s the rational?

    A little background on umbilical cord blood

    While the technology has improved leaps and bounds, the idea isn’t new. The first UCB (Umbilical Cord Blood) transplant occurred back in 1988 in France, to treat a child with Fanconi Anaemia[1]. Since then, over 40,000 UCB transplants have taken place and over 5 million UCB units have been stored worldwide in both public and private banks[2].

    Cryogenic preservation is a long-term game and for a technology that had its first success only 35 years ago/ This means there is still has a lot of half answered questions. Unfortunately, one of these is ‘How long do they last?’ To help, we have gone through the scientific literature for you.

    The majority of UCB units transplanted are used within 5 years of being cryopreserved (frozen at a very low temperature, below -150⁰C). Most of the evidence we have examining longer storage terms look at data from the lab and experimental transplants.

    This first paper[3] looks at actual transplant data and ‘real world’ outcomes (time in hospital and recovery times, as opposed to number of cells). In this particular hospital, 86 transplants of UCB were performed between 1996 and 2011. Some patients received units that were stored for more than 5 years (up to 12). When they compared ‘old’ vs ‘new’ units, no significant difference was found between the time for the blood cells to return to normal, nor was there a difference between the duration of patients hospital stays or patient survival[3].

    The next paper[4] looks at UCB cells cryopreserved for 21-23.5 years. The laboratory component of this study looked at these 21-23.5yo cells being grown in a dish. This was inspected after a set time to look at size, shape and colour of the clusters of cells that grew (known as a CFU assay). These groups that form is typically given rise to by as little as a single cell that has the potential to divide and grow into multiple cell types. They managed to detect multiple different types of blood cell. This suggested that they had successfully grown from a haematopoietic stem cell that had survived being frozen for many years.

    Excitingly, they could then remove the cells from that induvial dish. By doing this, they could grow more new groups of cells on a separate plate. This suggests that the cells they had stored 20+ years ago have the potential to grow into more specialised cell types over and over again. A second test looked at experimental transplantation of portion of these units. This examined how well the cells grew and divided in a new host. Evidence of a successful transplant was found and could even be transplanted from one host to the next successfully. The cord blood units used for this experiment had been in storage for 18-21 years.

    This field of medicine is only beginning to evolve. With the first transplant a ‘directed donation’, in a discipline still in infancy less than 35 years ago, ‘long term’ cryopreservation is still regarded as 10 years. As you can see from the above, this definition will likely change and be extended as time goes on. We cannot guarantee that the cells in cryogenic storage will last longer than what we have data for, but current research indicates that once frozen, umbilical cord stem cells sit quite happily for prolonged periods of time, in a state closer to suspended animation.  

    Biovault has two offerings for storage term currently: 25 years, as backed by the evidence above; and 50 years, in the hope we can future-proof your investment in your infant’s health. If you’re interested, you can find out more. Just download our brochure or by call our awesome sales team on 01752 753723.

    References

    1. Ballen KK, Gluckman E, Broxmeyer HE. Umbilical cord blood transplantation: the first 25 years and beyond. Blood. 2013;122(4):491-498. doi:10.1182/blood-2013-02-453175
    2. Kim GH, Kwak J, Kim SH, et al. High Integrity and Fidelity of Long-Term Cryopreserved Umbilical Cord Blood for Transplantation. J Clin Med. 2021;10(2):293. Published 2021 Jan 14. doi:10.3390/jcm10020293
    3. Parmar S, de Lima M, Worth L, Petropoulos D, Lee D, Cooper L, Kongtim P, Alousi A, Hosing C, Popat U, Kebriaei P, McNiece I, Shpall E, Rondon G, & Champlin R, (2014). Is there an expiration date for a cord blood unit in storage?. Bone marrow transplantation, 49(8), 1109–1112. https://doi.org/10.1038/bmt.2014.92
    4. Broxmeyer HE, Lee MR, Hangoc G, et al. Hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, generation of induced pluripotent stem cells, and isolation of endothelial progenitors from 21- to 23.5-year cryopreserved cord blood. Blood. 2011;117(18):4773-4777. doi:10.1182/blood-2011-01-330514
  2. Why banking your baby’s precious cord blood matters

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    World Cord Blood Day was celebrated around the world on November 15, and every year, July is designated World Cord Blood month, but still very few people in the UK know about umbilical cord blood banking

    Kate Sneddon, CEO of Plymouth-based Biovault Family, the only private laboratory in the UK that works for the NHS to process and store cord blood and tissue explains what it is and why.

    Very few people know that when parents give birth, they have the option to collect the cord blood left in the placenta, and the new born baby’s cord.  These tissues are rich in potentially life saving stem cells which have the ability to treat over 80 conditions,  and have the advantage over other sources of cells that they have not been damaged by the environment or ageing process, and do not require to be so closely matched to the patient.  

    We are also very excited about this service being expanded to treat autoimmune conditions, the most notable being multiple sclerosis (MS).

    At birth parents have the option to discard these tissues and cells as medical waste, donate to a public bank or privately bank for their families use should they become ill in later life.

    Since our creation in 2002, Plymouth-based Biovault has been at the forefront of the rapidly developing field of human cell and tissue processing and cryogenic storage.  Demand for services has grown, both here in the UK and Internationally, as doctors and scientists find more innovative and life-changing applications for human cells and tissue.  

    Biovault is the South-West Peninsula Transplantation Service’s tissue establishment, and we work in partnership with local NHS hospitals as they perform stem cell transplants for patients.

    Biovault provides the processing facilities and stores the patients’ or matched donors stem cells at cryogenic temperatures, -196°C, until they are ready to receive the cells. 

    Whilst many patients treated by the transplantation service wouldn’t have had the chance to store their stem cells at birth a relatively new area of medicine is developing using stem cells from the umbilical cord.  An increasing number of families are choosing to bank for their own use, known as private banking and Biovault Family offers this service in the UK.  

    Despite being available for nearly 20 years in the UK, the number of parents choosing this option is relatively low when compared to other countries across the world. This is primarily down to awareness, simply parents do not know they have the option as it is not routinely discussed during pregnancy.  This coupled with the fact that donation to public banks is through a limited number of hospitals only, means these precious cells often end up in the incinerator.  

    There has also been considerable challenge with collection of the cord.  The Royal College of Midwives does not currently support private banking unless there is a medically indicated reason (although they are reviewing their position).  As a result, hospitals and midwifery teams have not put in place the systems and resources to facilitate the collection, resulting in the use of external personnel to attend the birth to make the collection. The recent move to delayed cord clamping as standard within the NHS can mean medical professionals and parents think collection of the cord and blood is not possible, and again it is dismissed without proper consideration.  

    However, we see that making the decision to store our children’s umbilical stem cells is an act of bravery.  It means admitting the possibility of someone we love becoming seriously ill and deciding to take control of fear by putting in place this incredible biological protection.  

    At Biovault we are not content with simply offering the existing service, we understand that parents rightly want to give their child the best start in life by delaying cord clamping, but realise they also want to protect them for the future.  Because of this we embarked upon a research programme, in partnership with University College London to look at how we can “replicate” stem cells using cords donated specifically for research. With the hope of providing a process to expand their number using pioneering technology.  This may allow not only the child to have protection, but other members of the family too.  

    The field of stem cells, cellular therapies and regenerative medicine has developed rapidly over the last 30 years, but we are now on the cusp of new possibilities for the use of these precious cells.  There are 80 standard approved therapies using cord blood stem cells including Leukaemia, Lymphoma, Anaemias (including Fanconi Anaemia, Sickle cell disease and Beta Thalassaemia), inherited disorders of the immune system, inherited metabolic disorders and solid tumours such as Neuroblastoma and Retinoblastoma.  Clinical trials are ongoing looking at the use of the cells for Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke and Parkinson’s disease, Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Multiple sclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and many more.

    Working in the medical field requires that we work to the highest quality standards.  However, we go above and beyond the mandatory UK Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licence and have sought out two of the most exacting international accreditation: Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy Joint Accreditation Committee for ISCT and EBMT (FACT-JACIE) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).  

    We are truly proud to hold these accreditations which ensure we maintain our unique place as the leading private cell and tissue banking facility in the UK, and Biovault is the only private entity to have gained the FACT-JACIE accreditation. 

    In addition to quality we are very proud of our ethics, as scientists and parents we care for every person and every cell in our care and put the wellbeing of people before profit.  

    Interested? Download our brochure today – it’s got all you need to know about cord blood banking.

    stem cell preservation

    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.

  3. November 15th is World Cord Blood Day

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    The clocks are counting down to World Cord Blood Day 2021, an exciting event made up of an Online Virtual Conference supported by a host of inspiring live events across the globe. It’s open to the public and is recommended for parents as well as healthcare professionals. The strapline says it all: “Even just one conversation could save a life”. So what is World Cord Blood Day all about? Why do we believe it’s such an important event for anyone who’s trying for a baby? Read on to find out…   

    Why do we celebrate World Cord Blood Month? 

    July 2021 marked Cord Blood Awareness Month, a full four weeks of exposure revealing the many thrilling medical advances around umbilical cord blood. 

    Cord blood deserves an awareness month simply because the banking of cord blood isn’t mainstream, despite its medical advantages. Every parent deserves to know exactly how umbilical cord blood can help secure the future health of their children. Every mum and dad appreciates the many benefits of collecting and storing their new born child’s cord blood. 

    We celebrate World Cord Blood Day for the same reasons and this year the event takes place on 15th November.  

    What is Cord Blood Day?

    Cord Blood Day is a worldwide event rich in vital information. You can find an event near you, ask the experts questions after the conference, join in with the Global Virtual Conference taking place on the big day, and enjoy a collection of interactive games and videos

    What is cord blood used for?

    Cord blood stem cells have been used to treats more than 80 diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. Cord blood stem cells research is also expanding into regenerative medicine. Studies suggest there may be applications for spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, autism, type 1 diabetes and more. This is why we encourage parents to consider collecting and storing cord blood from their new born babies. 

    It’s a simple and easy process, something your birth partner and / or midwife can help you with. Once the cells are stored we can keep them for as long as 50 years. There for your child as they grow and age. You might just be saving your children’s good health for many years to come.  

    World Cord Blood Day was born from a strong need to improve cord blood education. Back in 1998 a cord blood stem cell transplant was carried out by Dr Eliane Gluckman in France. It saved a young boy who was fighting Fanconi Anemia. This inspired doctors around the globe to explore the possibilities of cord blood. So far there have been more than 40,000 cord blood transplants worldwide.  

    Despite all this more than 98% of births around the world still involve throwing cord blood away as medical waste. Parents deserve unbiased information about cord blood so that they can make the best choices, and that’s why World Cord Blood Day is so important. 

    Is cord blood good for the baby?

    In a word, yes. Cord blood is simply the blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth. It’s a powerful, non-controversial source of stem cells because it doesn’t involve taking cells from an embryo. The blood is collected after the birth quickly and easily. The collection process comes with no risk to the baby or mother. It has no impact on the process of giving birth, either. 

    Is cord blood better than bone marrow?

    Cord blood is a lot easier to collect, store and access quickly than bone marrow. Using one unit of umbilical cord blood for a stem cell transplant comes with significantly less risk of Graft versus Host Disease. This is always a risk for transplant patients. There seems to be less risk of a relapse for some diseases when cord blood is used. It’s easy to ship, and the stem cells can be made available for use by medical professionals to help your child within days.

    If you’d like to explore the potential for the banking of cord blood, we’re always happy to help with answers to your questions. Alternatively you can order your kit now, download a brochure, or schedule a friendly call with one of our expert team members. 

    Sources:

    stem cell preservation

    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.

  4. Our Biovault Family

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    Nothing is more important than your baby’s health. That’s why more and more people are signing up with Biovault Family to protect their baby’s precious umbilical cord blood.

    Can you imagine how powerless you feel when your child or another family member is ill or injured, but you can’t help? Now imagine you can help, because you’ve saved and stored precious cord blood from when you gave birth.

    We work with an amazing team and some more amazing mums with whom we build a very special bond. You may have heard of some of them…

    Louise Roe – Fashion stylist, author and presenter

    Louise Roe banked her baby’s stem cells with Biovault Family this year (2021).

    She says: “My family and I decided to bank our newborn daughter’s stem cells using Biovault, after having a long chat with them over the phone. They’re the only place in the UK that has their own storage facility and an insurance policy. That means should anything happen to the company, our baby’s cells will still be looked after for 50 years.

    “The diseases this can help treat and cure are very wide-spanning, and the list is growing. I do feel a huge sense of security knowing we have invested in our baby’s health and future.”

    Ricky Martin – Winner of The Apprentice, 2012

    Ricky Martin and his wife Gemma used Biovault Family for a second time last year (2020) following the birth of their baby daughter.

    Comments Ricky: “My family and I decided to bank our newborn daughter’s stem cells using Biovault, after having a long chat with them over the phone. They’re the only place in the UK that offers Escrow protection, an insurance policy that means should anything happen to the company, our baby’s cells will still be looked after for 50 years. The diseases this can help treat and cure are very wide-spanning, and the list is growing. I do feel a huge sense of security knowing we have invested in our baby’s health and future.”

    Our Biovault Family keeps growing…

    We are also delighted to be working with Portia Jett and her husband the TV presenter Ore Oduba who are expecting their second child later this month.

    Model, entrepreneur and influencer Juste has also chosen Biovault Family to bank her second child’s stem cells later this month.

    We’ll bring you more news from our Biovault Family very soon.

    Want to become a part of our family? If you’re expecting, find out more about how we can help you to protect your child’s future, call our team or download our brochure today.

  5. What to consider when choosing a cord bank?

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    The science behind stem cells is complex, but there’s no reason why choosing a cord bank should be complicated. Look at it this way. Cord blood stem cells are simply a kind of medical treatment. This means you use the same common sense parameters you’d use when pinning down any kind of medical support. That means making sure the cord blood bank you choose scores high on quality and security, compassion and science.

    To help you make the best decision for your circumstances we’ve created a list of things to check when choosing the best cord bank.

    How do I choose a cord blood bank?

    A good cord bank will offer you the chance to store the blood for at least 25 years and potentially for 50 years. The best will also provide an annual banking service.

    It’s important to carry out all the same corporate and financial checks you’d do when choosing any other kind of private medical provider.

    The best cord banks have lots of experience in processing and storing cord blood and cord tissue cells. If the company has processed 100,000 or more units, you can safely assume they know what they’re doing!

    The quality of the cord blood stem cells must be very high. Take a look at the number of units a company has released to be used in medical treatments – ask the question. The same goes for the results, the ‘clinical outcomes’ of the people the treatment was given to. If a company has released at least 300 units, have published the results and there’s a good success rate, that’s a positive sign.

    The best performers know that medical science moves fast. They see their role as an ongoing one that doesn’t end just because your cord blood has been collected and stored. They should also be dedicated to advancing and investing in the future potential of stem cells and be aware of new developments. These organisations should also be able to express them clearly in plain language for potential customers like you to understand.

    Cord blood banking UK reviews

    Reviews are an excellent way to get a good picture of the quality of services provided. All the best cord blood collection services collect customer reviews. Take a look at their website. Is there a reviews section? Are there any reviews available on Google, on Trustpilot, or via a specialist medical and healthcare review platform like Doctify?

    What are the differences between private cord banks?

    Private cord banks store stem cells exclusively for the donor family in their own private facilities. There’s usually an up-front collection fee plus an annual rate for ongoing storage. The prices they charge vary.

    Look for a provider that gives you a choice of packages. It’s good to be able to choose between stand-alone cord blood processing and storage or cord blood processing and storage plus umbilical tissue banking.

    With us you benefit from a fully inclusive package with a choice of cell storage guaranteed for either 25 or 50 years. This is unique in the UK, where we’re the only storage bank to provide inclusive storage. Doing it our way can save you as much as 37% overall. It’s also useful to know we’re the only UK cord blood bank working with NHS hospitals, involved in exciting clinical research programmes.

    It makes sense to check that, when your stored stem cells are needed for a medical treatment, your storage bank knows exactly how to release the cells quickly and safely. It’s important to know that the experience, equipment, facilities and expertise to do it all properly.

    Does the provider you’re researching offer guarantees?

    We have a unique Fully Inclusive Service Guarantee based on two solid two financial principles:

    1. We provide all-inclusive services. We give you full support throughout your chosen storage period with no hidden costs and no annual fees.

    2. We care for your financial security.

    Because we keep your storage fees safe in an independent escrow account that pays us a sum every year to cover the costs. This means your cells and your money are safe if something happens to our business.

    Does your cord blood bank send you a storage certificate as extra assurance that your cells are in safe hands?

    If so it’s a good sign that they’re in it for the long run, with your family’s long term interests at heart.

    If something looks too good to be true, beware. It costs money to store human stem cells properly for long periods of time so if it’s unusually cheap, it’s probably nasty!

    Special offers designed to support you are another indicator of good quality. At Biovault Family, for instance, we offer 0% Finance for 12 months without administration fees, and we’ll cut your fee by 25% if it turns out you’re having twins. We run a really popular refer-a-friend scheme, we offer annual storage fees if that helps, and our prices are great in the first place considering everything we provide.

    What cord blood banking accreditations do I look out for?

    The best cord blood banks don’t sit back and relax. They actively look for and work towards all the relevant accreditations and standards. Immaculate ethics sit at the heart of everything they do. At the moment we’re accredited by all of these respected organisations. Does the providers you’re researching have all these under their belt?

    • The Human Tissue Authority (HTA)
    • JACIE: the Joint Accreditation Committee for the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT)
    • The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
    • The Cord Blood Association 
    • National External Quality Assessment Service (NEQAS) 

    About cord blood payment plans

    Look out for a choice of payment plans. Flexibility around the money side of things, initially and on an ongoing basis, signals the company has your interests in mind, not just profit. Long term storage choices are usually the best value for money but if your provider also offers annual storage plans, that’s a tick in the right box.

    Would you like to discuss storing your umbilical cord blood and cells?

    At Biovault Family we never forget that cord blood collection and storage is all about people like you. It’s about your feelings and your future. In our experience the human side of what we do is just as important as the science. We do everything we possibly can to help the thousands of parents who rely on us. If the worst happens your cells are in superbly safe hands.

    Sources:

    Parents Guide To Cord Blood –  How to chose a cord blood bank – 7 things to know at https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/how-choose-cord-blood-bank-7-things-know

    NHS – Public and Private Cord Blood Banks at https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/how-choose-cord-blood-bank-7-things-know

    Biovault Family at https://biovaultfamily.com/our-services/ and https://biovaultfamily.com/about-us/

    stem cell preservation

    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.

  6. How much does stem cell storage cost?

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    Cord blood banking is hugely popular these days. The world’s 500 cord blood banks contain a total of more than four million cord blood samples, a number that’s increasing fast by around a quarter of a million every year. So why are parents paying good money to store their child’s umbilical cord blood stem cells? And what do you get for your money? Is cord blood banking worth the cost when it’s something you dearly hope you’ll never need? If you do need it, it can save your child’s life. It’s easy to see why it’s such a big decision. Here’s all you need to know about stem cell storage cost.

    Why should I store my baby’s cord blood stem cells?

    Your baby’s cord blood stem cells could save their life one day. They’re already proven to help with more than 80 diseases and illnesses. As the science progresses more conditions will be added to the list, and that’s magic. 

    Careful, expert stem cell processing is essential, and it’s highly specialised. The skilled NHS transplant nurses we work with do everything possible to eliminate all the potential risks, so we can store lots of healthy, cells safely for many decades. 

    How to make the decision to pay for stem cell storage?

    The decision to take out a stem cell storage payment plan is a bold one, and it’s backed by science. Yes, it means you need to think about the worst happening to your child, which isn’t comfortable. On the bright side the stem cells you store will be available to treat unexpected conditions in the future, including awful illnesses like leukaemia. 

    Publicly donated umbilical cord blood is available to us all, of course. It doesn’t always have to be a perfect match, and it’s perfect for treating people who can’t be treated with their own stem cells, for example those with some types of cancer, sickle cell anaemia and metabolic disease. 

    When you donate your baby’s cord blood to the public you can’t access it yourself, and if you ever need a transplant you’ll have to wait for cells to become available. You can see why so many families decide to bank their own cells to rely on in the future. 

    So, what normally is the stem cell storage cost? At Biovault Family we charge from £1,950 for 25 years of storage, including all the consultation and admin fees, the collection kit itself, a fast and reliable courier service, the stem cell processing, the cell counts, the viability testing and cutting-edge cryogenic storage. There are no annual costs on top of the initial fee, but you can opt to also store cord blood and tissue if you like. 

    What does the cord blood banking cost include?

    Biovault Family offers two packages, each with its own very reasonable cord blood banking cost. The first comes with umbilical cord blood processing and storage provided as a stand alone service, the second includes cord blood processing and storage plus umbilical tissue banking.

    Our Family pack includes all this for £1,950: 

    • Cord blood processing
    • Cord blood collection kit
    • Optional 25 or 50 years cryogenic storage
    • 1 year complimentary insurance cover for cord blood only
    • Courier service
    • Cord Blood Sterility testing
    • Cord Blood Total Nucleated Cell count
    • Full CD34+ haematopoietic stem cell count
    • Cord Blood CD34+ cell viability
    • Maternal Blood Infectious Disease testing
    • Storage certificate
    • Full client support & administration fees
    • Plus an extra phlebotomist service if required

    You can decide on a fully inclusive package with cell storage guaranteed for either 25 or 50 years, and that’s unique to the UK. As the country’s only storage bank providing inclusive storage, with us you make dramatic savings of as much as 37%. 

    Millions of families believe the cord blood banking price is worth every penny. Our Family Plus Cord Blood and Tissue Storage and Processing pack is the most popular. It costs £2,450 and this is what it includes: 

    • All the benefits of the Family Pack
    • Cord Blood processing
    • Cord Tissue processing
    • Optional 25 or 50 years cryogenic storage included
    • 1 year complimentary insurance cover for cord blood only
    • Cord blood & tissue collection kit
    • Courier service
    • Cord Blood Sterility testing
    • Cord Blood Total Nucleated Cell count
    • Full CD34+ haematopoietic stem cell count
    • Cord Blood CD34+ cell viability
    • Maternal Blood Infectious Disease testing
    • Storage certificate
    • Full client support and administration fees
    • More potential future possibilities
    • An extra phlebotomist service if you require it

    How long can cord blood be stored?

    It’s amazing to think you can store your child’s cord blood for either twenty five or fifty years, so it can be used to protect their health and well-being well into adulthood. Can you think of a better gift to support your child’s future? 

    Jo Kingston

    BSc (Hons) Chemistry

    Sales Manager | Biovault Family

    Jo joined Biovault Family in 2019 as the Sales Manager. With her Science degree & her passion for the healthcare industry and background in the Pharmaceutical & Biotech industry, Biovault Family was the perfect fit. Jo is enthusiastic about Umbilical Cord Banking and her goal is educating all expecting couples in the UK about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to store their baby’s cord blood & cord tissue.

  7. Midwives are truly remarkable

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    It’s something that is really important to me because it allows me to do so many things and reach so many people and to help people. I want people to know me as and remember me as a person that helped others, a person who loved others.”

    (https://www.nurses.co.uk/nursing/blog/the-5-things-i-love-most-about-working-in-midwifery/)

    Isn’t that lovely? The philosopher Plato agreed. As he said,

     “The greatest privilege of a human life is to become a midwife to the awakening of the soul in another person.” 

    (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/735649?ref=midwife)

    As you can tell from the quotes above, midwifery is special, just like the people who become midwives. It’s such a joyful career and so varied. A midwife helps people every day. As a midwife you’re a skilled educator, sure. But you also help women understand their bodies and pregnancies better. Through doing so, they feel safer, more confident. This all helps to make childbirth memorable.

    What makes a midwive’s job so special?

    In midwifery, the learning goes both ways. A midwife learns valuable lessons from every woman they take care of. Afte rall, pregnancy is different and every birth is unique. You become part of the family, getting to know the parents, the kids and even their pets. You play a part in bringing a precious new life safely into the world, and by doing so you see the people you care for learn and grow. In a word, it’s a beautiful career.

    Not just mums – midwives see everyone fall in love with their new baby

    You see the love in the dad’s eyes as the child is born and you encounter so many different couples, from traditional to same-sex couples, older to younger, from every country and every walk of life. And you get to help brand new humans emerge into the world safely every day. What could be more magical than that?

    At the same time, as a midwife, you gather an enormous store of expertise, insight and experience, a constant learning curve that keeps your role interesting. It’s about empowering women too, inspiring awe in women’s bodies, helping them understand that they’re amazing.

    As the midwife Barbara Katz Rothman says, “It’s not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth.” (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/823168?ref=midwife) So what is a midwife’s role in the collection of your baby’s cord blood?

    Does the midwife collect cord for cord blood banking?

    In all cultures, the midwife’s place is on the threshold of life, where intense human emotions, fear, hope, longing, triumph, and incredible physical power-enable a new human being to emerge. Her vocation is unique.” 

    Sheila Kitzinger (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/735649?ref=midwife)

    Your midwife is with you all the way, supporting you throughout the process of giving birth, there to reassure you, inform you, calm you, and make you feel like the hero you are. They don’t actually collect your baby’s cord blood but they’ll be there for you when it happens. So how do you collect cord blood? An experienced phlebotomist collects the cord blood, and they’ll do it quickly and expertly.

    A phlebotomist is specially trained to collect blood samples from patients, often to be examined in a laboratory for the quick diagnosis of all sorts of diseases and conditions. When taking blood they know exactly how to keep the patient safe and happy without disturbing the great job your midwife is doing.

    But what is the role of the midwife during cord blood collection?

    You can have your cord blood collected via a home birth or at hospital. Either way your midwife can easily follow the instructions provided by us when you decide to save cord blood with a specialist bank.

    You’ll want to request your cord blood collection kit during your second or third trimester, at least four weeks before your due date. The kit comes complete with all the equipment needed plus step-by-step directions for clamping the umbilical cord, collecting the cord blood itself, and packing it safely at room termperature for delivery to our laboratory.

    How is cord blood collected?

    What is the cord blood collection procedure? Collecting your baby’s cord blood and tissue only takes a few minutes, and we’ve made it as simple as we can. Your umbilical cord blood Collection Kit contains everything you need, including instructions to share with your birthing partner, the midwife, and the phlebotomist who will collect your cord blood, cord tissue and a sample of your own blood.

    Keep the Collection Kit and instructions with your hospital bag so it’s ready when you are. As soon as you go into labour, contact your phlebotomist and keep them informed about your progress.

    Your midwife plays a crucial role here. Unless they’re totally happy that all’s well with you and your newborn child, they won’t authorise the collection. It’s a very simple process that can be carried out either before or after your placenta has been delivered and the umbilical cord clamped and cut. You don’t need to clamp the cord early, and your partner can still cut the cord, often an important part of the ceremony of birth.

    The phlebotomist will collect and label the samples ready for transport to our laboratory in a special pre-paid thermally insulated package. Once your baby’s cord blood has been collected someone should contact us so we can arrange a courier.

    Once we get them, we transfer your samples to a sterile environment and give them their own unique barcode before processing them, testing for microbiological contamination, and checking the concentration of the stem cells. When our scientists are happy with everything the samples are stored in tamper-evident bags in vapour phase liquid nitrogen.

    The stem cells are only extracted if and when there’s a medical reason, and you can choose to store tissue and cord blood for either 25 or 50 years, giving your child decades of potential protection just in case something goes wrong.

    What should your midwife know about your cord blood birth plan?

    Speak tenderly; let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”

    Mother Teresa (https://www.azquotes.com/quote/823168?ref=midwife)

    Every good midwife will be thrilled to be involved in such an exciting process. Here’s a diagram revealing the collection process steps your midwife will need to understand.

    stem cell preservation

    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.

  8. Why is Biovault’s cord blood cost cheaper than other cord blood banks?

    Comments Off on Why is Biovault’s cord blood cost cheaper than other cord blood banks?

    Banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue with Biovault Family costs a lot less than other UK based companies offering similar services. The low cord blood banking cost offered by Biovault Family saves you at least £1,625 and as much as £5,000 on the cord blood banking price our competitors charge. So, how do we manage to provide such competitive cord blood banking services? 

    Cheaper cord blood banking – Price comparison

    First, let’s go compare! This is how our prices stack up against competing umbilical cord blood companies: 

    Cord Blood Stem Cell BankInitial CostAnnual Fees25 Year Cost
    Bank 1£1,495£65 x 25 years£3,120
    Bank 2£1,600£50 x 24 years£2,800
    Bank 3£1,995£65 x 24 years£3,555
    Biovault Family£1,950None£1,950
    2021 Cost Comparison with three UK Cord Blood Banks and Biovault Family

    Cord Blood and Tissue Banking costs:

    Cord Blood & Tisssue Stem Cell BankInitial CostAnnual FeesTotal 25 Year Cost
    Bank 1£2,640£65 x 25 years£4,265
    Bank 2£2,545£100 x 24 years£4,945
    Bank 3£2,195£100 x 24 years£4,595
    Biovault Family£2,450None£2,450
    2021 Cost Comparison with three UK Cord Blood Banks and Biovault Family

    An inclusive service with no added extras  

    Because we’re the UK’s only cord blood bank offering cord blood collection, processing and storage inclusively, all within the same deal, ith storage options of either 25 or 50 years, we avoid the annual storage fees our competitors have to add to their  collection price. No wonder we’re the cheapest cord blood and tissue banking service in the country. 

    A unique service that’s both ethical and fully-inclusive 

    Ethical cord blood banking like ours means you pay less as well as securing access to precious umbilical cord blood for as long as half a century, making it available to help your child and other close family members for generations. As the UK’s most ethical cord blood bank we guarantee the security of your cells and fees, the only UK stem cell banking company to offer a fully inclusive service and the only one to harness the power of Escrow protection.

    The power of Escrow

    We protect your money in an Escrow protected account, which releases fees to us every year to pay for your stem cell cryopreservation. That means that, in the unlikely event something happens to our company, your baby’s stem cells remain safe along with your money. 


    Say you move abroad. You don’t have to remember to pay your annual storage fee. You’ve already paid it, and if anything happens to you, your child’s stem cells remain safely in storage. They’re always there for you, available if you need them, wherever you happen to be based. Your child, when they grow up, won’t need to pay storage costs either, since it’s all taken into account from the start. 

    We never put our fees up – Not even over 50 years! 

    There’s more. Some banks promise not to put up their annual fees for existing customers, others will increase their costs along with inflation throughout the storage period. This means, as a parent, you could unintentionally leave your child with a future financial burden they can’t manage. With us, there’s no chance of that happening. 

    Peace of mind plus a genuine ethical outlook 

    We’re a business. But we put you first, and in our world that’s unusual. Banking umbilical cord blood with us at Biovault Family gives you the peace of mind you need over your family’s health, and also guarantees the security of both your cells and your fees. If that sounds good, and you’d like to take the next step, we’d love to hear from you. 

    Jo Kingston

    BSc (Hons) Chemistry

    Sales Manager | Biovault Family

    Jo joined Biovault Family in 2019 as the Sales Manager. With her Science degree & her passion for the healthcare industry and background in the Pharmaceutical & Biotech industry, Biovault Family was the perfect fit. Jo is enthusiastic about Umbilical Cord Banking and her goal is educating all expecting couples in the UK about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to store their baby’s cord blood & cord tissue.

  9. What is autism and can cord blood be used to treat it?

    Comments Off on What is autism and can cord blood be used to treat it?

    Umbilical cord blood is rather magical. The stem cells it contains have all sorts of health benefits, widely used to help treat a huge variety of conditions, some very serious. As experts in cord blood banking, we decided to explore the science and tell you the truth behind cord blood treatment for autism.   

    About umbilical cord blood and autism – The science bit! 

    Precious umbilical cord blood can be easily collected when your baby is born, then stored for future use to treat the child or another close member of your family. Does cord blood treatment prevent autism or affect the condition in any other positive way?  

    It’s important because one in 68 children suffer from ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s more than four times more common in boys than girls and it can happen to every child, whatever their background. So far, nobody knows the cause or causes behind the condition. But some experts believe it could be down to the immune system which, in some cases, reveals an ‘elevated response’. If this proves to be the case, and if the immune response can be somehow calmed down, doing so should help protect a child from developing autism.

    The science behind cord blood cells 

    Cord blood stem cells are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Research reveals the cells in cord blood can regulate inflammation, migrating to the site of the injury. The ‘Bystander Effect’ is also at work here, where umbilical cord blood cells secrete substances to support the body’s natural repair mechanisms in surrounding tissue.  

    Two key scientific studies

    In 2014 a study by Duke University Medicine explored using umbilical cord blood cells to treat autism, along with strokes, cerebral palsy and other similar brain disorders. The study, whose results were released in 2017, looked into the safety of giving the children an intravenous infusion of their own umbilical cord blood.

    In the phase I study, involving 25 children aged between 2 and 5, researchers saw more than 66% showing better speech, better social skills, and increased eye contact as reported by parents and assessed by experts. This left the study’s creators feeling ‘cautiously optimistic’. The results inspired full double blind placebo-controlled phase 2 research, with answers posted in 2019. Sadly the results were inconclusive, as later confirmed in 2020. 

    In another study, this time in 2017, Dr. Michael Chez, Director of Paediatric Neurology at Sutter Medical Centre in California, USA, designed an experiment to look into using umbilical cord blood to treat autism. The study involved thirty children with autism aged between two and seven, all of whom had their cord blood cells harvested and banked at birth. 

    Every child’s autism was carefully evaluated before the experiment began. Then the children were randomly given either cord blood or a saline placebo IV-infusion before being monitored carefully for 24 weeks. After that each child was given the opposite infusion and monitored for a further 24 weeks. Nobody, including the researchers themselves, knew which child had been given which infusion first. 

    The results revealed that while cord blood infusions appeared safe in children with autism, and some of the children were found to have improved in some ways, the improvements couldn’t be applied to all the children, and there was no overall trend of improvements. 

    It’s also important to know that 30 children isn’t a big enough number to make statistically valid conclusions, which means the results weren’t statistically significant. And that means more research is needed to prove or disprove the theory. 

    The future cord blood banking outlook for autism

    Scientists believe this is only the start of the autism story, and that cord blood stem cells might still prove to have a positive impact on helping children avoid developing autism. For now, the jury is out. Much bigger studies are essential to find any evidence, if indeed there is any evidence to find. 

    You can rely on us to provide you with the latest science, information from experts that you can trust rather than unreliable reports from the media. Would you like to store your baby’s cord blood for a healthier future? If so, we can help!

    Download our brochure, schedule a meeting with one of our lovely sales team or just give us a call on 01752 753723.

    stem cell preservation

    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.