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Popular Questions

Why should I consider saving my baby’s cord blood?

Cord blood contains life-saving stem cells that can rebuild the blood and immune system and save the life of a patient with a serious blood disorder like leukaemia, lymphoma or sickle cell disease.  Stem cell infusions can also treat patients with inherited genetic disorders, bone marrow failures and immune deficiency diseases.

What are the differences between the private cord blood banks and CELVI hybrid cord blood bank?

When you bank your baby’s blood stem cells with CELVI, it will be tissue typed (free of charge) and placed on the Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry.  This means that you are willing to be a potential donor for a patient in need of a stem cell transplant.

DescriptionPrivate Cord Blood BanksCELVI Hybrid Cord Blood Bank 
Fees payableYesYes
OwnershipParents/18+ year old childParents/18+ year old child
Additional testing (Free)NoTissue typing (inherited genetic characteristics)
Registration on Donor RegistryNoRegistered on Sunflower Fund donor registry
Use for allogeneic treatment if it is a genetic matchSiblingsSiblingsUnrelated patient from any country in the world
Informed consent required from parent or 18+ year old child, before release for treatmentYesYesYes
Utilisation of stored samples++++
Social responsibility++++
Refund upon donation*N/AYes

What is the difference between cord blood and cord tissue?

Cord blood contains blood forming stem cells called haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs).  These stem cells have the ability to self-renew and to form specialised cells like red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to regenerate the blood and immune system continuously.

Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that have the ability to self-renew and to form specialised cells like bone, cartilage, muscle and nerve cells.  These cells repair damaged tissues in the body continuously.

What is cord blood?

Cord blood is the residual blood in the umbilical cord after the baby has been born.  It contains blood forming stem cells (HSCs) and can be collected immediately after birth.  It has been used to regenerate healthy blood and immune systems in more than 40 000 cord blood transplants worldwide, saving lives.  Research is constantly evolving using cord blood as treatment for diseases that currently has no cure.

Should I save cord blood for every child?

Yes.  Saving the cord blood of each child is important as of each of us have our own genetically unique cells.  Your baby’s own stem cells may be used for a number of diseases, but generally not for inherited genetic conditions.  In those cases, a matched sibling’s cord blood stem cells would be preferred.  Siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and a 75% chance of being a partial match.

Can my child use his or her own cord blood stem cells?

Yes.  Your child will always be a 100% match for his or her own cord blood stem cells.  Autologous stem cell transplants (using one’s own stem cells) are performed on diseases like Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, severe aplastic anaemia, myeloma, Ewing’s sarcoma, neuroblastoma, brain tumours and other solid tumours. Depending on the condition being treated, the transplant doctor will decide whether to use a patient’s own stem cells or a partial or full matched donor, like a sibling.

Are there current uses for cord blood stem cells?

Using cord blood stem cells for a transplant can potentially cure patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myeloproliferative disorders, genetic diseases, and disorders of metabolism

What are the current recommendations for delayed clamping?

Several obstetric organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have recently recommended a delay of 30-60 seconds between delivery and umbilical cord clamping in healthy, full-term babies.  It is believed that delayed clamping may have a beneficial effect in the newborn89, 118.

Delayed clamping can reduce the volume of stem cells remaining in the umbilical cord, but that does not necessarily make the volume unsuitable for storage. On the other hand, if the baby’s cord blood is being stored for a known use – such as transplant of another family member with leukaemia – delayed clamping may not be advised118.

Expectant parents should discuss options for delayed clamping with their obstetrics provider.

What are the odds of using my Baby’s privately stored cord blood sample for treatment?

In a 2008 publication by Nietfeld et al, 1.64 % of 94 803 families reported at least one first-degree member with an indication potentially treatable with an allogeneic stem cell transplant.  4.23 % of 94 803 families reported at least one child with an indication under investigation for treatment with an autologous stem cell infusion.

At CELVI, your baby’s cord blood will be registered on the Sunflower Fund Stem Cell Registry.  This means that your immediate family and/or an unrelated patient in need can potentially use the cord blood for treatment, depending on your consent.  Increasing the utilisation of cord blood in South Africa will provide more options for more patients, realising the value of cord blood.

What is Tissue Typing?

Donors and patients are matched by their HLA type, which is different from matching blood types. A simple cheek swab can help to determine whether you’re a close stem cell match for a patient. Read more at:

Your baby’s DNA will be collected by a trained CELVI representative after birth, usually within 2 days. You will be contacted to arrange an appointment.

A cheek swab (buccal swab) is used to collect the sample for testing. This is a non-invasive way to collect DNA from the cells on the inside of the cheek.  The swab is rubbed along the inside the baby’s cheek to collect epithelial cells which contain DNA information needed for tissue typing.

Buccal swabs are generally preferred by those looking for DNA testing because they’re much less invasive than a blood test.

The Sunflower Fund registry will send the sample for tissue typing and register it on the Sunflower Fund Registry.

The results will be kept confidential in line with the World Marrow Donor Association guidelines and local regulations

How much does it cost?

Protect and preserve your baby’s newborn stem cells with a once-off payment of R23 805, to cover the total banking fee.

Since immediate availability of your baby’s stem cells is the goal, a once-off payment for the cord blood and tissue banking ensures that there are no outstanding payments when the stem cells are required for treatment.  Payment is made at registration.

At CELVI, the storage fee is payable only once a year on a Pay as you Go basis, for only R460/year.

Annual payment for storage ensures that we can look after your baby’s preserved stem cells for years to come.  It is done on a pay as you go basis, which means that you pay for a year in advance and that you are not locked into a long-term contract. You can choose for how long you want to continue storage.  We will send you a reminder every year so that you don’t have to worry about it.  The storage fee for the 1st year is included in the Banking fee and the next payment will only be due the next year in your baby’s birth month.

Kit Transport Instructions

View Instructions

  1. After the birth of your baby, please check that the collection kit contains the following:
  • Cord blood sample
  • Cord tissue sample
  • Maternal blood samples
  • Collection Form
  1. Please contact us for pickup and have the following information available:
  • Mother’s name and surname
  • Hospital name and address
  • Room number
  • Collection Kit Number
  • Date and time of birth
  1. Complete the enclosed Speedblood courier waybill to return the kit.

National Speedblood couriers ensure that returning your collection kit to our lab is as simple as one phone call.

CELVI prearranges shipping (transport) with an experienced healthcare courier service to look after the precious cargo.

In order to take advantage of our courier service, you must use the enclosed waybill to return the kit.

We will keep you connected the whole way and let you know as soon as the collection kit arrived at the lab via SMS.

M-D-05.12 V1 – 2019/09/09

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The treating doctor will determine the use of cord blood for treatment, depending on many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the quality of the cord blood sample, if the patient’s own cord blood can be used or an adequately matched donor’s cord blood.The use of cord blood has been established in stem cell transplantation and has been used to treat more than 80 diseases. The use of cord blood in regenerative medicine is still being researched and there is no guarantee that treatments being studied in the laboratory, clinical trials, or other experimental treatments will be available in the future.The use of cord tissue stem cells is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue stem cells will be available in the future. Cord tissue stem cells are found in the cord tissue which is stored whole. Additional processing will be required to isolate the stem cells from the tissue for use. CELVI (Pty) Ltd outsources all cord blood and tissue processing and storage activities to Next Biosciences in Midrand, South Africa, a licensed and AABB accredited facility.

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