The below Frequently Asked Questions have been compiled to answer general questions about banking cord blood and tissue. If you can't find what you are looking for or have an enquiry to ask the Cryosite team, please call 1800 220 410.
What does ‘autologous’ mean?
A transfusion or transplant of tissues or cells which originate from the patient’s own body. Autologous cord blood is cord blood that is collected, cryopreserved and stored from your child for their own use in the future.
What is family cord blood banking?
Since 2011, we have been licensed by the TGA to allow the immediate release of your child’s stem cells to treat any compatible family member. That means that your baby's cord blood could be used for compatible siblings and family members, making the service even more valuable for your family's future health.
Does having a caesarean affect collection?
The collection process proceeds essentially the same way with a caesarean section as it would in a natural birth. Our collection pack is completely sterile so it can be taken into theatre at the time of delivery.
Are there any risks involved?
The procedure is safe and painless. It won’t bother you or your baby, or disrupt your birth in any way.
Can I donate my child’s cord blood?
Yes. The Australian Federal and State governments have jointly funded the establishment of a public cord blood banking system. These banks collect and store cord blood in a few public hospitals in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (during normal business hours only). Patients who deliver at participating hospitals may donate their baby's cord blood to the public bank for use by any individual who needs a stem cell transplant. However, once donated, your cord blood would not be available if it were ever needed within your family.
What is cord blood?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in your child's umbilical cord. If collected at the time of birth, it can be processed and cryopreserved, and used in the future to treat a range of diseases and blood conditions.
How are cord blood stem cells used in medicine?
Cord blood stem cells are used to treat damaged blood and immune systems, often during chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Cord blood stem cells are also being studied for potential use in regenerative medicine to help stimulate and guide the body's own repair system to heal damaged tissue and organs.
How and when is cord blood collected?
The procedure is safe, quick and entirely pain-free. After your baby is born, their umbilical cord is clamped, cut and cleaned as a matter of routine. If you have chosen to bank the cord, your obstetrician or midwife will insert a sterile needle into the cord to collect the remaining blood (note that if cord blood isn’t collected, the umbilical cord is often discarded as medical waste).
Can I delay cord clamping and still collect cord blood?
After you've delivered your baby, whether vaginally or by caesarean, the cord is clamped and then cut in the usual way – either by your partner or your medical provider.
You can delay cord clamping, as long as the delay is brief, no more than a minute or two. If cord clamping is delayed too long, the blood in the cord will clot and can't be collected for storage.
What are cord tissue stem cells?
Cord blood banking is fairly common nowadays; however, cord tissue banking is also rising in popularity. Research into this emerging area of stem cell science suggests that in the foreseeable future cord tissue cells could treat medical conditions that are untreatable today.
We utilise advanced tissue processing technology developed by our own Cellular Therapy Research Scientists to preserve the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are found in abundance in cord tissue. These cells are expected to play a critical role in the treatment of disease and are being studied in great detail for the role they can play in cartilage, muscle, and nerve cell regeneration.
Does collecting cord tissue hurt?
No, just like collecting cord blood, collecting cord tissue is safe, simple and painless. Your baby’s umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and the cord blood is collected. Your obstetrician or midwife then collects as much of the umbilical cord tissue as possible and places into a collection container that we provide if you chose to collect it with your baby’s cord blood.
How does cord blood and tissue get from my delivery room to your processing lab?
After collection is completed, the cord blood and tissue is packaged so it’s ready for shipping. A sample of the mother’s venous blood is also collected for mandatory infectious disease testing. The parents then call our specialist medical courier on a dedicated 1800 number. The medical courier will attend your hospital or birthing centre and we will coordinate the transport of your child’s cord blood and tissue back to us for processing from anywhere in Australia.
What happens when you receive the cord blood or tissue?
When the cord blood sample arrives in our laboratory it is carefully measured and tested for sterility, viability and cell count. It is processed to reduce the volume of red blood cells and plasma, and the stem cells are separated and protected with a cryopreservative solution, which allow the cells to withstand very low temperatures and remain viable.
When processing is complete, the sample is cryopreserved down to cryogenic temperatures (below-180°C) and is then ready for long-term storage.
Upon completion of the cryopreservation process, the cells are stored in vapour phase liquid nitrogen. To assure that your child's cord blood and/or tissue is safe for future use, a range of infectious and product quality tests are performed.
How is the cord blood stored?
Following the slow controlled rate freezing of the blood, the cells are transferred to vapour-phase liquid nitrogen tanks for long-term storage.
Will I be charged more if my baby is born on a weekend or a public holiday?
Our costs include specialist shipping any time of the day or night, and at any time of the year (including public holidays). There are no additional charges for collections outside of standard business hours.
Are there any extra charges if I live in a remote part of Australia?
No, our costs include specialist shipping from anywhere in Australia
Are there any additional charges to release the cord blood for use?
There are no charges for the release and transport of your child’s cord blood within Australia when it is needed. Charges for international shipment of your child’s cord blood will depend on the country you need it shipped to. International transport is provided at cost price.
Are there any additional charges to release the cord tissue for use?
In the event that your child’s cord tissue is approved for a future clinical use, you may be charged to prepare the cells for treatment and also for shipment if this is to be undertaken overseas.