But, what does this mean and how do we apply our ethics to our day-to-day practices?
Biovault Family prides itself as an ethical company offering umbilical stem cell banking to parents in the UK, Europe and Middle East, but in relation to this service what does “ethical” mean?
It fundamentally comes down to looking at the service offered in its entirety and ensuring that at each stage, information given, level of care and transparency of approach is considered with the parents, child and ultimately clinicians who may use the cells in mind.
Biovault is in the unique position of working directly as part of the NHS South West Peninsula Transplant programme. This interaction on a daily basis with healthcare professionals (consultants, nurses, biomedical scientists) that are treating patients with complex cancers and conditions where stem cell transplant may be the last viable treatment option allows us to fully understand the requirements, standards and challenges these healthcare professionals face.
Biovault Family seeks to educate parents at each stage in the process, ensuring that information given is accurate, complete and honest.
Examples of this include,
- If the mother has a condition, that means she is not suitable as a donor, or the scope of use may be limited we will advise of this in advance of providing the service.
- We apply criteria to cell counts and cell quality of the cord blood and advise customers where we think storage may not be appropriate.
- We provide clear information on approved treatments and those in clinical trial stage to ensure parents understand the limitations with the cells stored based on current information.
What are the ethical practices that Biovault has in place?
Biovault educates parents on cord stem cell banking and the options available to them. We work with customers to ensure their birth plan is supported and the cord stem cells can be collected. Our sales team do not apply pressure to parents during the sales process.
Biovault’s agreement with the parents is clear and unambiguous with no hidden costs such as annual storage charges, unless a specific annual storage payment package is chosen. Where affordability is a challenge Biovault offers options, packages and support to parents.
Where a prepaid storage package is chosen Biovault transfers the ongoing storage costs for the period chosen to an Escrow company who hold that money separately to Biovault to ensure the funds to cover the remaining storage are in place and governed separately from Biovault.
Should the cells be required for a treatment a full data package is supplied to the clinician in advance allowing them to make informed choices based on the quality and quantity of cells available.
How does this differentiate Biovault Family from other cord blood banking companies?
Many banks use high pressure sales tactics to entice parents to store their child’s cells with them. They spend little time educating parents and seek purely to make the sale and “fill in the gaps” later. Our Client advisors are more than happy to spend time with customers to ensure expectations are met and share experience. During the CV-19 pandemic they have been a source of advice to many customers on what to expect at hospital with access restrictions.
The long-term storage fees can be hidden by other companies. We speak to many parents who are unaware of the annual storage costs for which they will be liable, from other banks packages.
We care about the families we support and ensure they have all the information they require, and can rely on us if times get tough and the cells are required. We will always seek to give accurate and comprehensive results.
We are proud of our organisation. If you want to find out more, get in touch with the team who will be on hand to help.