Collection is 100% non-invasive and allows you to pursue your birth plan of choice


Some frequently asked questions answered:


Your baby’s stem cells are special because they a guaranteed match for them, so should they ever need medical treatments involving stem cells they will have a completely safe source of cells available to them. What is more, if they are stored with LifeCells they will be available to them, wait-free, throughout their lifetime.

Stored stem cells offer you children an amazing array of existing medical treatments for a range of blood and immune diseases, as well as cancers and degenerative conditions. The current range of treatments available target diseases that can be encountered throughout your child’s life, and as such can be used at different points in their life to help them remain healthy.

What is more, scientific research on new treatments is progressing at an amazing rate, with thousands of clinical trials occurring globally right now. This means that currently uncurable conditions like diabetes, heart disease, brain injury and others could be treatable with your baby’s stem cells in the near future.

Stem cell storage is the cryogenic preservation of human stem cells for future utilisation in medical treatments. These cells are produced in different places and at different times in the human body in order to repair, replace, or grow other specialised cells. In this case the stem cells that are stored are those that remain in the umbilical cord blood and tissue following birth; newborn stem cells are extraordinarily powerful and by processing and cryopreserving them they can grant your family with a host of future treatments for a range of conditions and diseases.

Stem Cell storage is currently done in two ways:

Public: the cells are preserved and placed anonymously on a public register.

Private: preserved cells are available for the exclusive use of the child and their family.

In essence the process is very simple. At the earliest signs of labour, you will need to call our dedicated ‘labour line’, which is manned 24/7, and ensure you take your LifeCells Collection Kit with you to the agreed hospital or birthing location. Your kit contains all of the necessary equipment required for successful collection by your LifeCells phlebotomist. He/she will travel to your hospital or birthing location, and liaise with your midwifery/nursing team to setup an area that can be used to work on the cord and placenta (usually adjacent to the delivery room).

After the birth of your baby, your midwife will bring the placenta and cord to our work area. The phlebotomist will carefully collect the cord blood and cord tissue, placing them into buffer solutions designed to keep them protected and free of contamination.

All of the samples are labelled, barcoded and placed in a temperature-controlled transportation bag, which also contains a datalogger (for temperature recording). This ensures that samples are transported at the right temperature and tissue viability isn’t compromised during transport.

No. The collection is 100% non-invasive and allows you to pursue whichever birthing scenario you would like. The clamping of the umbilical cord can still be delayed and, whether you deliver vaginally or by caesarean, the collection of the cord blood and tissue will take place following the delivery. Likewise, whether you deliver the placenta naturally or after being induced does not impact our collection of the tissue and blood samples.

Almost all maternity hospitals in the UK allow this service to be performed by our professional team. If you have any concerns over your specific hospital we will discuss this closer to the time when we liaise with you and your medical team.

Cord Blood contains billions of stem cells, including blood-forming haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that are commonly used for treating blood disorders, cancers and are being trialled as treatments for a range of cognitive and degenerative disorders. Cord blood also contains tissue-forming mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are currently used in treatments for numerous diseases and hold huge potential in regenerative medicines.

Cord Tissue contains a high density of MSCs, as well as other cell types not found in the cord blood. These include perivascular and endothelial stem cells, both of which are currently involved in medical trials across the world that are developing therapies for a host of diseases.

At LifeCells we preserve both of these materials as standard, this means your child and family retain the best possible treatment opportunities in the future.

Cryogenic preservation is a scientific method of cold preservation that ensures long-term viability of materials by halting all biological activity and protecting cell integrity during the freezing process. At Discovery Park, LifeCells have access to industry-leading cryogenic freezers, and our robust protocols mean that our preservation process is optimised for stem cell storage. Once your child’s samples have been tested and process, they will begin the cryopreservation process, being gently taken down to a pre-storage temperature of -80C; the rate of freezing is precisely controlled to prevent the formation of ice crystals that might damage the samples. Once they are at -80C, the sample vials are transferred to special freezers where they will remain safely ensconced at -190C until they are needed.

We aim to transport samples to our facility within 12 hours from the time of collection.

Once the samples have reached our lab, cord blood will be processed as soon as possible (usually within 4 hours) in order to prevent acidity within the blood unit.

Tissue samples are processed within 12 hours (from time of arrival at the lab)

This is a difficult question to answer. As we are not a public bank, we will not reject samples that our clients have paid for. Public blood banks are very selective and will reject samples that contain fewer cells than their standard requirement (in some cases 1.5x10^7 cells/kg of CD34 marked cells). We will accept all samples (provided they are not contaminated). Because we are looking at matched clinical application, there are clinical benefits even with lower cell numbers. Our processes are designed to maintain the highest possible cell viability and we record the number of viable cells multiple times by taking samples of 10uL (microlitres) as we move along our process.

We take regular viability samples, which are recorded in our client files.

You can do this one of two ways. You can request your consent forms and pay the initial deposit online, or you can contact our customer care team directly at +44 (0)20 8064 0158, and we will see to everything. In either case it is a quick and easy process that will take less than 30 minutes to complete.

From paying the deposit to delivery should take no more than a maximum of 48 hours, so theoretically two days’ notice is all you need to allow. If you have the time, though, it’s always a good idea to order well in advance so that you can get everything planned and straight in preparation for the big day.

Once you have paid your initial deposit and completed your registration form we will immediately dispatch your Collection Kit to you.

The Collection System will be delivered by Royal Mail Special Delivery, meaning that it is tracked all the way to your door and delivered, in most cases, the next working day.

We have put together everything that your partner nurse will need to perform an efficient and sterile collection, and then the medical-grade packaging necessary for your courier to transport the samples in stable, temperature-tracked conditions. Every Kit contains the following: 

▪ 1 x Cord blood collection bag 

▪ 1 x Cord tissue collection kit (Life Cup) 

▪ 1 x Sterile drape 

▪ 1 x Maternal blood sample kit 

▪ 1 x Sterile Gloves

This is dependent on you birthing location, but it will be collected by either your specialist consultant or a specially trained phlebotomist. LifeCells will assign both of these people to you, and ensure that you and your medical team liaise with them well in advance of your due date to ensure everything is in place.

The stem cells extracted from your baby’s cord blood and tissue will have a 25% chance of being a perfect match for their siblings, and a 75% chance of being a usable match. This means that whatever the case, your entire family with have a better level of protection with one child’s stem cells stored than none at all. However, in order to ensure perfectly matched cells it is best to store samples from all of your children.

Keep it safe and DON’T open it! Once you’ve received it, place it with your other delivery-day materials so that you remember it on the big day. In the unlikely case that the kit looks damaged upon receipt you should contact us immediately to arrange a replacement.

This is a common question, and it really comes down to one question: are they identical or fraternal twins? If they are identical, then they are likely to be sharing a placenta and stem cells extracted from their umbilical cord will be a perfect match for both twins. If they are fraternal twins, then they are just like any other siblings and as such it is important to store cells extracted from both of their umbilical cords to give them the best coverage. We offer a discount on collection of cells from multiple births, and can put together a personalised pricing package for you.

Processing and storage all happens in our state-of-the-art facility in Discovery Park, Kent
LIFECELLS, Discovery Park, Sandwich, Kent CT13 9FF FIND US ON GOOGLE MAPS

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Get your FREE GUIDE today

Our free welcome pack provides you with everything you need to start making your decision.

By providing your information, you will receive:

  • One-to-one contact with a member of our specialist support team.
  • An information pack PDF providing clear, comprehensive and unbiased information about the benefits of storing your baby’s stem cells and a step-by-step walkthrough of the collection and preservation process.

If you would like to speak to our team directly you can find our contact information here.

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