The Expectant Parents’ Guide to Maternity Costs: Cord Blood Banking

Once you find out you’re expecting a baby, you can expect everything and anything pregnancy-related to start pouring in. Such information can come in the form of personal research and/or through conversations with your family and peers. With sufficient research, it will come as no surprise that raising a child in Singapore requires careful financial planning and preparation.

Some important considerations related to general maternity costs for essentials such as ultrasound scans, antenatal packages and the increasingly popular cord blood banking, have been summarised in this article. Before we go further, let’s discover the potentials of cord blood stem cells!

What is cord blood banking?

Cord blood, also known as “placental blood”, is blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby’s birth. In the past, most of these precious stem cells were typically discarded with the umbilical cord. However, research has shown that cord blood is a great source of Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) which have the unique ability to differentiate into different types of cells found in the body, namely:

  • Red blood cells – transports oxygen throughout the body
  • White blood cells – produces antibodies and fights infections
  • Platelets – assists in blood clotting

In fact, cord blood stem cells can be used to treat more than 80 diseases1 such as leukaemia, lymphoma and thalassemia, as well as metabolic and immune disorders. This could make a world of difference for you and your family if a stem cell transplant is ever required.

Currently, there are many ongoing clinical trials that use cord blood stem cells for the treatment of autism, cerebral palsy, Type 1 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injury, just to name a few2. Clinical trials are one of the key driving forces in medical breakthroughs and they represent hope for families with conditions that have no known cure.

Apart from cord blood, the umbilical cord has a sheet-like membrane, known as cord lining. Cord lining contains a high concentration of 2 other types of stem cells, namely Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) and Epithelial Stem Cells (EpSCs). They are the “muscle-forming” and “skin-forming” building blocks in the human body which have shown great potential in aiding the repair of injured tissues and organs.

Cord lining stem cells also have immune-modulating characteristics which means that the matching of stem cells between donor and the patient may not be required, making them suitable for both your baby and other members of the family.

By storing a combination of HSCs, MSCs and EpSCs, you’re availing your children and family to be part of a medical revolution with access to the growing applications of stem cells and the therapeutic potential they hold.

What can cord blood stem cells do for my family?

Since cord blood banking’s inception into the Singapore market in 2001, it has become an important consideration for expectant parents when it comes to birth planning. Many parents have decided to store their baby’s cord blood stem cells as a form of biological insurance for the entire family.

The cord blood stem cells that you store for your baby are a perfect match for him/her. It’s also a ready source of genetically related stem cells for someone else in the family. Unlike bone marrow which requires a perfect match between donor and patient, the probability of finding a match among family members using cord blood stem cells is By storing the cord blood from each child, parents can also increase the chance of locating a match within the family3.

Here are some key considerations when choosing a family cord blood bank:

  • Long-standing establishment – As umbilical cord stem cells can be stored indefinitely, it’s important to choose one that you trust and know will be with you for the long haul. With over 17 years of experience and establishment in Singapore, Cordlife is the leading and largest family cord blood bank in Singapore that is trusted by over 60,000 families. >
  • International Accreditations – It’s important to choose a family cord blood bank which has been accredited by independent international bodies such as American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT)4. These accreditations ensure that the family cord blood bank adheres to the highest standards of quality when it comes to the handling, processing and storing of your baby’s cord blood through regular and rigorous audits. It also ensures the viability of the cord blood stem cells if a transplant is required.
    In addition to being licensed by the Ministry of Health, Cordlife is also 1 out of 6 family cord blood banks in the world to attain dual international accreditation for AABB and FACT.
  • Transplant track record – A family cord blood bank with a proven transplant track record and experience in successfully releasing cord blood units for transplant is a good indication of their high-quality standards. This means that your child’s cord blood stem cells will remain viable should the need for transplantation ever arise. With over 17 years of experience under its belt, Cordlife is a family cord blood bank with a proven track record and experience in successfully releasing cord blood units for transplants.
  • Unique service offerings – Apart from storing cord blood stem cells, find out if the family cord blood bank is able to offer additional services such as umbilical cord lining storage. Cordlife is the only family cord blood bank in Singapore that is licensed to store an additional 2 types of stem cells found in the umbilical cord lining – MSCs and EpSCs. By storing a combination of these stem cells, it increases your child and family’s medical options for possible therapeutic and regenerative treatments in the future.
  • Storage facility – In order to ensure the viability of your child’s cord blood stem cells, it’s also important to ensure that the family cord blood bank has their own laboratory and biosafety cabinets within its facility instead of outsourcing it to a third party. Cordlife has a fully-owned laboratory in Singapore which allows it to maintain direct control over critical services, quality, licensing and accreditations. Their investment in processing and storage facilities reflects the company’s dedication to the careful preservation of both cord blood and cord lining units stored under their care.

As you will only get one chance to collect your baby’s cord blood at birth, it is important to do it with the right partner. Get all your questions answered at the Cordlife booth, D07 at SuperMom Baby Fair from 15 - 17 March 2019 at Suntec Convention Halls 403 & 404.

Now that you understand the benefits of storing your baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells, let’s jump right into the other general maternity costs in Singapore!

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