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 and stem cells are simply a kind of medical treatment, which means you use the same common sense parameters you’d use when pinning down any kind of medical support. And 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 or cells must be very high. Take a look at the number of units a company has released to be used in medical treatments. The information should be easily available on every cord blood collection and storage website. If you can’t find the information, click away. 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, aware of new developments and 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, and 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, and has 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. One, we provide all-inclusive services. We give you full support throughout your chosen storage period with no hidden costs and no annual fees. Two, 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, 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.
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
BSc (Hons) Microbiology
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.