the journey · thoughts

Cord blood banking: Our thoughts

This is a personal opinion piece. I am not paid in any way.

Originally, we did not plan on banking Bump’s cord blood but our gynae (Dr Chen Chern Yi) brought it up during one of our visits and it got us doing a bit of research. There are currently only 2 companies in Singapore who do cord blood banking – Stemcord and Cordlife. Our gynae suggested Stemcord because apparently, they store the cord blood in separate bags in 2 separate locations which means that when you need it, you can open one bag first if it is sufficient. Cordlife stores it in one bag, in one location.

We spoke to friends who have had babies. Some stored, others chose to donate it to the Singapore Cord Blood Bank. I read quite a few articles online – some were for private cord blood banking, others were against it. Both companies had brochures and their website had lots of information. It was truly mind-boggling.

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Obviously, we had to find out more information from the 2 companies directly so we headed to a baby fair where Cordlife had a booth. Had a chat with the salesguy and asked loads of questions. For Stemcord, we were in touch with them via email and met up with the salesguy for a consultation session.

In summary, this is what we gathered after speaking to both companies (you can get other generic information from their websites) and perhaps this information may be useful for parents-to-be who are considering cord blood banking:

  • Both companies use the same machine called Sepax 2 Automated Stem Cell Processing System to process the cord blood.
  • Both have proven track records of 7 incidents (both had 7!) where cord blood was used in a medical procedure.
  • As mentioned above, Stemcord stores the cord blood at 2 different locations (Science Park 1 and Science Park 2) while Cordlife stores it at one location (A’Posh Bizhub at Yishun Industrial Street 1 – they own the office).
  • Stemcord is a private limited company while Cordlife is public listed since 2012.

When we spoke to Cordlife (we spoke to Cordlife first), the salesguy mentioned that Stemcord uses a “manual open systems tube” which means that less stem cells are viable after processing. We clarified this with Stemcord’s representative who shared that since 2012, they are also using the same system as Cordlife, i.e. the Sepax 2. To be honest, it was the only thing holding me back from signing with Stemcord because our gynae recommended it (and we trust her) and I was concerned that their machine was “not as good”.

I also posed this question to both salesguy because I read some articles online about how cord blood is useless when it comes to certain genetic diseases such as leukemia. Cordlife told us that leukemia is “developed” after birth so the cord blood collected at birth is “pure”. However, Stemcord shared that there are 2 types of leukemia. One form is genetic while the other develops later in life. He honestly shared that if the cord blood turns out to contain cancer cells, it cannot be used then. This is information we garnered from both companies and we do not have enough knowledge/information to decide who is correct. However, I personally appreciated Stemcord’s honesty in sharing that there is a chance of the cord blood not being feasible.

After hearing from both sides, we decided to go with Stemcord because:

  1. they use a double bag which means that if not as many cells are needed, there is a second bag that still can be used in future.
  2. they have a more flexible payment plan, i.e. you are not tied for 20+ years. I honestly cannot remember all the details because I let the boy handle all the money-related matters.
  3. they are the preferred cord blood banking company for Mount Alvernia which is where Bump will be delivered.
  4. information provided were “as it is” without coming across as “hard selling” or trying to “run down” the competition.
  5. Stemcord was slightly cheaper although this is a mute point because you can make use of the baby bonus to pay for cord blood banking.

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We were given this blue box that is to be brought along to the hospital for delivery. I have since put it beside my hospital bag.Β It was on our to-do list in preparation for Bump’s arrival so I’m glad we have it all sorted out now.

PS. Today marks 37-weeks in the pregnancy journey so we have officially hit full term! It is exciting and a little scary that any time NOW, a new tiny human is about to join our family. Gulp.

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