Most Frequently Asked Questions
What is cord blood?
Cord blood has significant medical value and be used widely in transplant medicine. Also, cord blood is regarded as "The First Gift" from God to a baby. Collecting cord blood is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the time of delivery.
In 1988, a 5-year-old French boy suffering from Fanconi's Anemia successfully received transplantation of his younger sister's cord blood, which was the first clinical application of cord blood and aroused worldwide enthusiasm about cord blood storage. At present, up to 113 diseases5,6 including cancers, blood-related, immunity and metabolic disorders can be treated by cord blood. There are also over 40,000 successful cord blood transplant cases over the world. Over 90 cord blood transplant cases were performed in Hong Kong, which included both children and adults.
According to the guideline (February 2008 issue) of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists2, doctors are recommended to provide balanced and accurate information of cord blood banking to expectant parents, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of public versus private cord blood banking. 27 states, cover 81% new born in U.S., even imposed legislations to mandate doctors to educate expectant parents about all forms of cord blood banking. It shows the importance of cord blood banking and its medical values.
What are the ways to store cord blood?
There are two ways to store cord blood in Hong Kong, including private storage and public donation.
- Private storage: Storing the cord blood at private cord blood bank for future transplantation use when needed.
- Public donation: Donate the cord blood to Hong Kong Red Cross to help people in need. Applicable to specific hospital only.
If neither private storage or public donation is chosen, the cord blood will be discarded as clinical waste.
What is the difference between cord blood and umbilical cord?Cord blood and umbilical blood contain two different stem cells which are widely adopted in different medical aspects. Cord blood is a rich source of HSCs which can create the blood and immune cells. Cancers, blood-related, immunity and metabolic diseases can be treated by cord blood. Umbilical cord is a rich source of MSCs which can create structural and connective tissues. Apart from minimizing GvHD in directed and unrelated allogeneic cord blood transplants, MSCs can apply to chronic illnesses treatment, regenerative medicines as well as organ and tissue engineering. Since cord blood and umbilical cord are rich sources of different types of stem cells, they may help to repair the body in different ways.
What disease can cord blood heal?
Until June 2016, up to 113 diseases had been treated with cord blood transplants5,6. They could be divided into 7 categories, namely: Leukemia, Lymphomas, other Disorders of Blood Cell Proliferation, Inherited Disorders of Immune System, Inherited Metabolic Disorders, other Cancers and others.
Detail about 113 treatable disease please refer to Diseases Treated by Cord Blood Transplantation.
Is it necessary to bank my second baby's cord blood if I had banked one for the first child?
Storing every child's cord blood could provide the biggest guard to every child:
- Every child's stem cell is unique. Although cord blood could treat 113 diseases5,6, some inherited diseases could not be treated by own cord blood. In this respect, siblings' (with consanguinity) cord blood is the most possible source to treat the disease.
- Research shows that, 1 in 200 people by age 70 may need stem cells transplant4
- Under the circumstance of twins, the needs to bank the cord blood (or umbilical cord) varied.Twins can be categorized into two main types: Identical twins (monozygotic) when a single fertilized egg splits into two genetically identical havles and non-identical twins (dizygotic) where two eggs are fertilized at the same time. For identical twins, their cord blood can be combined for storage as the twins are genetically idential. But for non-identical twins, as their genes are different, it is suggested to store their cord blood separately.
How many patients does HealthBaby treated by using cord blood?
HealthBaby Group has already provided over 1,100 samples for global matching and assisted 43 patients for autologous / allogenic transplants (incl. HK public hospital), proving the expert storage and processing system to benefit the families worldwide.
For more successful transplant case details, please refer to Most successful cord blood transplant cases in Hong Kong.
How to register HealthBaby's service?
HealthBaby's cord blood and umbilical cord service regiratation is very simple:
- Select service plan: HealthBaby offers different umbilical cord and cord blood storage plans to cater different expectant parents' needs. For more details, please contact HealthBaby consultant.
- Registration: Please make appointment for registration (around 30-45mins) after the service plan is chosen.
- Preparing collection kit: After the registration, HealthBaby consultant will provide a collection kit for you to bring along to hospital for doctor upon delivery.
- Contact for delivery: Please call the HealthBaby hotline and we will arrange a dedicated staff to deliver the cord blood/umbilical cord from hospital to laboratory.
Why HealthBaby persists to use liquid nitrogen as the storage medium?
Different from other private cord blood banks, HealthBaby persists to use the expensive liquid nitrogen (-196℃) as storage medium to provide the most quality cord blood and umbilical cord storage service. Using of liquid nitrogen (stable temperature at -196°C) as storage media, which is recommended by reports for long-term stem cells storage19,only liquid nitrogen can keep stable -196°C. Cord blood stem cells will suspend all physiological activities and remain dormant. On the contrary, reports show that vapor nitrogen and TWEs will reduce the stem cells viability by 20%26.
One of the most critical determinant of transplantation success is stem cells viability. HealthBaby's adoption of liquid nitrogen as storage medium is the best guard to every parents.
Can the cord blood and umbilical cord be stored permanently?
Stem cells will stop all physiological activities and remain dormant in -196℃ liquid nitrogen. Therefore, the stem cells can be permanently stored theoretically19. Professor Hal E. Broxmeyer (microbiology and immunology) is a pioneer who advocates of cord blood stem cells cryogenic storage. He proved that stem cells stored for years were still very regenerative, indicating that the stem cells stored in 1985 and 1986 could still be applied to patients for transplant33.
On the contrary, there is no factual basis for the claim of stem cells being able to store permanently under -135℃. Noted that using the vapor nitrogen storage system would cause temperature fluctuation upon stem cells storage and thawing and seriously affect the viability of all samples' stem cells.
Will umbilical cord blood collection harm the mother and the baby?
Cord blood collection is very simple and won't cause any harm to both mother and baby. Cord blood is collected after baby delivery and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, thus it is safe and causes no pain to the mother and baby.
Please see Cord Blood Collection Process for detail steps of cord blood collection.
Can the cord blood and the umbilical cord be sent to overseas for transplantation?
Every client's cord blood and umbilical cord usage is not limited to Hong Kong region. HealthBaby can send the cord blood and umbilical cord to overseas region as long it is legal at the destination.
Please contact us for more details.