Our Banking Process
The Collection and Storage Process
1. Collection Kit Sent To You
After enrolling with AlphaCord, we will send you a collection kit, which will include everything needed for the collection of cord blood and cord tissue, as well as for the shipment of samples to our lab.
2. Your Baby Is Born
When you are admitted to the Labor & Delivery department of the hospital, inform the nursing staff you will be collecting your baby's cord blood and cord tissue. If your healthcare provider needs instructions on collecting your baby's cord blood or cord tissue, they are provided in your collection kit and are also available on our website by clicking here.
3. Cord Blood Collected
After your newborn's umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, collection can begin. This process does not involve your newborn. Your baby will be safe and out of the way. You will feel no pain during the collection, as your healthcare provider connects the collection bag to the umbilical cord vein. The process will take 5-10 minutes.
4. Cord Tissue Collected
At this point, the cord tissue can be collected. We encourage collection of up to 10 inches of cord since there is a direct correlation between how much tissue is collected and the number of stem cells saved.
5. Shipping & Transportation To Our Lab
All samples, paperwork, and maternal blood samples should be returned to the kit in preparation for shipping. Samples should be kept at room temperature until the courier arrives at the Labor & Delivery department to pick up the kit. We will transport your sample from the delivery room to our laboratory. We use only one shipping and logistics company. There is no handing off from one courier company to a commercial airliner then to a different courier company at the arrival city. Using one company allows your sample to be scanned at each point along the way into one tracking system. Therefore, we always know the location of your baby’s precious stem cells. The samples are robust and, combined with the non-Heparin preservatives in the collection containers, will be stable for up to 72 hours if needed. Our standard delivery service, included in your enrollment fee, is next-day delivery. A same-day delivery is always available at an additional cost, and is occasionally required over extended holidays when standard service is unavailable.
6. Processing & Storage
Once your child’s cord blood reaches the lab, a team of specialized medical technicians will process the sample under a laminar flow hood. Laminar flow hoods have been shown to be the most effective way to reduce sample contamination. The sample is analyzed, then the red cells and plasma are separated from the buffy coat, which contains the stem cells. The buffy coat cells are prepared for a slow-rate induction into the freezing state, a process called cryopreservation. Over a period of many hours, your child’s stem cells will be brought from room temperature to -190 C. While time consuming, this process helps ensure the safety and long-term preservation of these cells. Once frozen, the sample is placed in the dry vapor portion of one of Alphacord’s liquid nitrogen tanks for long term preservation at -190 C.
In addition to the main sample, one or more small aliquots, or mini samples, will be saved separately. These can be released separately from the main sample for HLA donor-recipient match testing. If the recipient is different than the newborn, and there is no match, then the sample remains intact and cryopreserved for a future need.