Cord Blood Banking Process

Collection, Processing and Storage of Cord Blood

Cord blood banking may be a new experience and is unfamiliar for many parents. It is in fact a straight forward process consisting of cord blood collection after baby is born, processing and storage of cord blood in the laboratory.

The mother’s ObGyn and/or Delivery Room staff would collect the cord blood. When the cord blood arrives in the laboratory, SCBB personnel will take over the process. Mother can focus fully on delivery and on welcoming their newborn baby throughout the process.

Cord Blood Collection


The process of collecting your baby’s cord blood is painless, safe and poses no risk to the mother and baby. It does not interfere with your birth experience or your birth plan.

When the mother goes into labour in the Delivery Room, the mother’s blood is collected to test for infectious diseases and other related tests. After the baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, the cord blood is collected from the umbilicus vein before the placenta is delivered. The collection can only take place at the time of delivery. The procedure takes a few minutes in the Delivery Room, after the baby had been delivered, and before the placenta and umbilical cord are discarded.

In the Delivery Room

After the baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut.

Cord Blood Collection Step 1  

While waiting for the placenta to be delivered, the residual umbilical cord blood is collected from the umbilicus vein. This takes a few minutes.

Cord Blood Collection Step 2  

Cord blood collection is completed when the placenta is expelled.

Cord Blood Collection Step 3  

Processing of Collected Cord Blood


Every bag of collected cord blood received at our Processing Laboratory will be evaluated for volume of blood, number of stem cells (Total Nucleated Cell) and cell viability (live cells). Usually, cord blood is processed within 36 hours to 48 hours of collection. The cord blood is processed to maximise the recovery of stem cells. Cord blood will be processed using fully automated and sterile SEPAX® Cord Blood Processing System from BioSafe SA. At the end of processing, the final product is a 25ml bag of white blood cell concentrate, which is called a Cord Blood Unit (CBU).

In the Processing Laboratory

All collected cord blood units are evaluated for the volume and cell counts.

Process Step 1  

The cord blood is processed by SEPAX 2, a fully automated machine, to remove plasma and red blood cells.

Process Step 2  

The final processed product is an approx. 25ml concentrated white blood cells and stem cells.

Process Step 3  

SEPAX® 2 Cord Blood Processing System from BioSafe SA

The SEPAX® 2 Cord Blood Processing System is a fully automated closed and sterile processing system that efficiently harvests stem cells from cord blood with the highest recovery rate of above 86%. It was the first fully automated, turn-key system that does not require additional equipment. With a single-use processing kit, it allows for our cord blood banking protocols to be programmed into the machine, increasing our efficiency, productivity and most importantly, improving the recovery rate – the final TNC of the processed cord blood unit.

The SEPAX® 2 Cord Blood Processing System is approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for cord blood processing.


Cord Blood Storage


After the cord blood has been processed, concentrated white blood cells are transferred to a freezing bag. A cryo-protectant will be added to protect the cells during the cryopreservation process to prepare for cord blood storage. The freezing bag containing the concentrated white blood cells is placed in a protected aluminium cassette case into a holding rack where the processed cord blood unit is gradually frozen, in the Control Rate Freezer. The gradual freezing maintains the quality of the stem cells and prevents it from damage.

When the cord blood unit (CBU) has reached the optimum temperature of below -180°C, it will be transferred to a cryopreservation storage tank in vapour phase liquid nitrogen. The temperature in the storage tank is maintained at a constant of less than -150°C and is continuously monitored via an alarm system. This ensure that the CBUs in SCBB are closely monitored and are in compliance with international regulations and quality standards.

Cryopreservation of a CBU

The final processed cord blood is frozen in a control rate freezer.

Cryopreservation Step 1  

When the optimum temperature for cryopreservation is reached the CBU will be transferred to a cryopreservation tank for storage.

Cryopreservation Step 2  

The CBU will remain in the cryopreservation tank until it is requested for clinical use.

Cryopreservation Step 3