Wondering how to choose the best cord blood bank for your family? This guide explores key factors like reputation, experience, collection process, and accessibility, to help you find the perfect fit for your family’s needs.

How do I find a reputable cord blood bank?

There are a number of important factors to consider when finding and choosing the cord blood bank you’d like to use to collect and store your baby’s stem cells, after all, these precious little cells may be life-transforming for your baby or even their sibling! 

First we wondered, why are people searching for cord blood banks and how do they come across us? 

Over a third of our customers have been recommended to us via a consultant or a midwife. 

As the first private cord blood bank in the UK, founded by Shamshad and Fehmina Ahmed in 2000; our many successful cord blood collections and transplants, over 700,000 and 220 respectively; and outstanding reviews from our customers, we have an outstanding long standing reputation. We have a proven track record which means that we are trusted and consistently recommended by the people that know best.

One in five of our clients have previously stored with us.

This means that they have been so happy with the process and service that they have come back to us time and time again!

The next fifth of our clients have been referred to us by friends and family.

Again, people are so happy with the service that they have received from Smart Cells, that they are not only willing to tell others about it, but they also actively shout it from the rooftops at any opportunity! Vogue Williams was so thrilled with her first Smart Cells experience, that with her second child, she shared us with her Instagram following and mentioned us in the press, including Hello! Magazine.

The remainder of our customers find us via a combination of search engines, business partners and social media, reminding us of the importance of doing our part to make people more aware that they have the opportunity to store their child’s stem cells if they want to do so.

Here are a few questions you might like to consider in order to determine how reputable a cord blood bank is and which cord blood bank is the best one for you:

Do they meet all the necessary standards?

One of the most crucial things you’ll want to check about your chosen cord blood bank is that they meet and/or exceed the necessary standards. You should look for a bank that is accredited by recognized institutions. This ensures they meet rigorous standards for professionalism and best practices. At Smart Cells, we hold an HTA licence, ISO 9001:2015 certification, and participate in the UK NEQAS program, demonstrating our commitment to quality.

Choose a bank with state-of-the-art storage facilities equipped with advanced cryogenic technology. This ensures long-term viability in a secure and reliable environment. We use the widely recognised, globally trusted BioSafe Sepax™ Processing Methodology to extract stem cells from the cord blood sample. Our samples are also tested and validated for sterility in accredited UK NHS laboratories.

Our dedicated laboratory team is highly qualified, using globally recognized techniques. Dr. Ann Smith, our Scientific Director with over 29 years of experience, ensures we stay at the forefront of the field.

What is the stem cell collection process like?

Understanding how the process of collecting your baby’s stem cells will go ahead is another big factor that you’ll need to consider. We have detailed here exactly how the collection process works, from ordering your stem cell collection kit to samples being processed and stored, and you will be kept up to date at every stage of the process including before and after birth so that there will be no surprises.

Can the company collect and store stem cells from both cord blood and cord tissue?

Cord blood is not the only option for collecting your baby’s stem cells; cord tissue is also rich in stem cells which have varying clinical possibilities. Having the opportunity to store both types may be important to you for many reasons, including the fact that the stem cells found in cord blood (known as haematopoietic stem cells) are particularly useful in transplantation for blood and bone marrow disorders, whereas stem cells in umbilical cord tissue (known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)) are used frequently in regenerative medicine. We have more information about this in our knowledge guide here.

How easy is it to access the stem cells?

Should you ever need to access your baby’s stem cells for treatment, you need to know that they are readily available wherever and whenever you need them. Finding out how your cord blood bank stores them and releases them, then how they get them to you safely is extremely important. 

At Smart Cells, our storage facility’s proximity to Heathrow Airport allows for quick and convenient access to your child’s stem cells, anywhere in the world, should you ever need them. We also prioritise getting your sample to you in the same top conditions that it left storage. The cord blood can be shipped anywhere in the world in a special container designed specifically for international cell shipment where it is at a constant monitored temperature. There will be no loss of viability as it travels frozen and is only thawed at the clinic where it is to be used immediately prior to treatment.

How long will my baby’s cord blood stem cells be stored?

You may also want to know that your baby’s cord blood will be stored as long as possible in the event that they should ever need it. Once we know that your baby’s cord blood collection and processing has been successful, we will store your sample for 25 years. There is current research to suggest that cryopreserved stem cells are still functionally viable even longer than that, for at least 27 years, so we are remaining up to date with that research as the tested timeframe will extend in the years to come and we hope we will be able to guarantee even more years on our storage samples in the future.

If you have any more questions about stem cell banking and storage, we have a list of the questions we get asked most frequently here, and you can always get in touch to ask us anything!