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What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the body’s “master cells”. They are the building blocks of all organs, tissues, blood, and the immune system. In many tissues they serve as an internal repair system, regenerating to replace lost or damaged cells for the life of the person. Stem cells are considered the building blocks our body uses everyday in tissue repair and normal cell replenishment.

Doctors were initially using stem cells derived from the bone marrow in patients who had received chemotherapy for cancer, to regenerate their blood and immune cells. In the late 1980s, they started using cord blood stem cells to treat diseases that had previously been treated with bone marrow transplantation.

Stem cells are today successfully being used to save lives. They also are being researched in an revolutionary new area of medicine called regenerative medicine, where scientists are studying the use of stem cells in experimental treatments for conditions like brain injury, diabetes and acquired hearing loss.

What is cord blood?

Throughout pregnancy, the umbilical cord is the lifeline between the mother and baby. The cord blood located in the placenta and umbilical cord contains a special type of stem cells. These cells are called hematopoietic stem cells, and they are the building blocks of our blood and the foundation of our immune system. Hematopoietic stem cells are blood-forming cells with the ability to self-renew. These unique cells have the potential to treat over 80 diseases and disorders; examples include, but are not limited to, leukemias, lymphomas, stem cell disorders, myelodysplastic syndromes, and more.

What is cord tissue?

Cord tissue refers to the umbilical cord itself. It is a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are different from those found in cord blood. MSCs can form bone, cartilage, and tissue cells and are predominantly found in the cord tissue. Cord blood predominantly contains hematopoietic stem cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells are used extensively in the exciting area of regenerative medicine research. They are also used in numerous clinical trials for wound care, spinal cord injuries, and joint and bone diseases. In certain studies, cord tissue stem cells have shown the ability to enhance cord blood treatments and transplants. MSCs are being referred to as “smart cells” that head straight to the site of the injured cells to stimulate new cell growth.

What is placental tissue?

This remarkable organ is responsible for transferring oxygen and nutrients between mother and baby. Tissue from the placenta is an abundant source of mesenchymal stem cells, and these cells are being studied around the world for applications in regenerative medicine, due to their well-documented ability to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system. The placenta also contains epithelial stem cells that are precursors to the growth of skin, and endothelial stem cells that can promote blood vessel formation.

What diseases are currently treated with cord blood stem cells?

Storing stem cells for your newborn can change or even save a life. Cord blood stem cells have been used for over 30 years to treat more than 80 life-threatening diseases and disorders. Today stem cell therapies continue to evolve, bringing new hope to patients and their families. Below are just a few diseases and disorders that have been treated with cord blood stem cells:


  • Acute Leukemia
  • Chronic Leukemia
  • High-Risk Solid Tumors
  • Hodgkin & Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Blood disorders

  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Beta Thalassemia
  • Diamond-Blackfan Anemia
  • Fanconi Anemia
  • Sickle Cell Disease

Immune disorders

  • Chronic Granulomatous Disease
  • Hystiocytic Disorders
  • Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diseases
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome

Metabolic disorders

  • Krabbe Disease
  • Hurler Syndrome
  • Metachromatic Leukodystrophy
  • Sanfilippo Syndrome

Preserving newborn stem cells makes them available for your family. For inherited genetic conditions, the child may not be able to use his or her own stem cells. In these cases, a matched sibling’s stem cells would be the first choice. Only privately storing stem cells for your newborn, offers access to current regenerative medicine clinical trials in autism, diabetes, and brain injury.

What is the likelihood that my child will get a disease that may be treated with stem cells?

This continues to be an open question within the scientific community. According to data from Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, the cumulative probability of having a cord blood stem cell transplant increases as people get older, since rates of cancer increase. In the US, 1 in 217 people will have a stem cell transplant (not just need one, but have one) by age 70. Hence the cord blood that parents store from their newborn might be of help to an immediate family member years from now. The cord blood is most likely to match first degree relatives: siblings and parents.

Each day, we learn more about stem cells and their role in regenerative medicine. Current studies and clinical trials are fueling research into new applications for the future, so the possibilities for your family are endless. These trials represent a new, exciting age in umbilical cord blood and tissue research. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people will benefit from regenerative medicine in their lifetime.

Who can use my baby's stem cells?

Full siblings are the most likely to be compatible matches, with 75% chance of being at least a partial match. The child’s biological parents will always be a partial match. Extended family members like grand-parents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are less likely to be immune compatible but still have the chance to be a partial match. If you were to go through the public banking system (donated cord blood) you would have a much smaller chance of finding a match. Public units also take more time to be located and released for use. Other family members could be a match. There is a higher chance of matching and a lower rejection rate for direct family members compared to unrelated donor stem cells.

Do all my children need their newborn stem cells saved?

All stem cells are genetically unique. Therefore, it is wise to save each child’s blood to ensure an exact match for that child. There have been many cases where a family member’s cord blood was used to treat another family member. More units stored creates better odds of matching a different recipient.

Cord Blood vs. Bone Marrow

It is often difficult to find a matching bone marrow unit/donor. Stem cells from your newborn’s cord blood are a perfect match for that child. Often, there is a greater likelihood a family member can use another’s cord blood stem cells than stem cells from bone marrow because of a lower risk of rejection. Cord blood collection is a pain-free procedure and much simpler to collect than a bone marrow extraction.

How and when is cord blood and tissue collected?

The cord blood is collected immediately following the birth of the baby, using an FDA approved, sterile cord blood collection bag. The baby is safe, out of the way, and not involved in the collection process. Collection is pain free and takes about 5-10 minutes. Once the cord blood has been collected, the umbilical cord is cut and placed in its sterile container. Following placental delivery, your doctor/midwife will place the placenta in the designated sterile bag. It will be sealed and placed into a leakage prevention bag and transportation pouch. All containers, bags, and pouches are pre-labeled with a unique client ID number. The samples will be placed inside the collection kit and readied for shipping to our lab for processing and cryogenic storage.

Is cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta collection safe?

Yes. Cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta collections are safe, easy and painless for both mother and baby. It is now considered a common and routine procedure in many hospitals across the country. Your healthcare provider will not change the normal birthing process in any way, except to collect your baby’s cord blood and tissues. Cord blood and tissue collection can take place after a vaginal or C-section birth and collection can still be performed after delayed clamping.

Does CellSave use FDA-approved collection bags?

Yes. We use the 250ml blood collection bag containing a CPD solution, additional rinsing bag with 8ml of CPD, and a second cord blood collection line. The CPD solution helps to preserve and nourish the cord blood while in transit to our lab. The bag is sterile for vaginal and C-Section deliveries. It uses a two, 12-gauge needle system. These wider needles allow for faster blood flow and reduces the possibility of clots. Having an additional needle allows for a second insertion to collect even more blood.

Will my doctor or midwife know how to perform the collection?

Yes. Cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta tissue collection is a very simple and common process. Easy to follow and detailed instructions are included in your collection kit. If your healthcare provider has any questions, we are available by phone 7 days a week to assist.

How does my blood get from my hospital room to the processing laboratory?

Following the birth of your baby, the doctor or midwife will collect the samples and place them in your kit. Your kit will be picked up by one of our medical representatives or shipped via Priority Overnight Service to our laboratory.

Will the cord blood and tissue be tested?

Yes, various tests will be completed on your baby’s cord blood and tissue to ensure it is viable and sterile. We receive and process stem cell collections every day of the year, which are analyzed by our experienced laboratory scientists for TNCs, CD34+/CD45 count, viability, bacteriology, fungal and infectious diseases. Potency will also be measured.

Is the cord tissue processed?

Wharton’s jelly and other stem cell rich tissues are isolated for cryopreservation. The components of the umbilical cord that do not contain stem cells are removed to prevent contamination. At CellSave we preserve the cord tissue as whole segments so that your family have access to all the different cells in the cord including cell types such as mesenchymal, endothelial, epithelial, neuronal, hematopoietic, and perivascular. Research is still in early stages for cord tissue, and by preserving the cord tissue whole, your family will have access to the most options science has to offer and the best available future technologies, as research advances.

What happens after the cord blood and tissue arrives at the lab?

Upon arrival, your baby’s stem cells will be processed and prepared for storage by our experienced lab technicians. Within 72 business hours of the pick-up, you will be notified by email that your samples arrived and were processed. About 6-8 weeks after processing, you will receive a Certificate of Storage. This will show your unique ID number and processing results.

How will I know my baby’s cord blood has been stored safely?

Once your newborn’s stem cells arrive at the lab and initial testing has been completed, you will be updated by email. About 6-8 weeks after processing, you will receive a Certificate of Storage with a unique ID number for your baby’s unit for your records and sample reports. Our lab has full backup systems in case of a utility failure. Backup generators are available if an electrical outage occurs. The temperature and liquid nitrogen levels of every tank are monitored, electronically and manually, 24/7. Typically, our tanks can hold appropriate temperatures for several days before they require refilling.

What kind of cord blood storage bag is used?

We use the FDA approved industry standard, 2 chamber storage bag. Our bags hold 25ml’s (one 5ml chamber and one 20ml chamber) of cord blood stem cells. We also offer a 5 chamber storage bag option. Prior to cryopreservation, the multi-compartment storage bags are overwrapped and hermetically sealed. As an extra precaution they are then placed in a metal cassette and frozen in a control-rate freezer before being suspended in cryogenic dewars above a pool of liquid nitrogen that creates a vapor-phase environment kept at minus 196 degrees Celsius. This keeps the samples as cold as liquid nitrogen without immersing them in liquid, which can enable cross-contamination.

How long can newborn stem cells be stored?

Newborn Stem Cells are stored at approximately -196°C (-316°F). Some of the oldest samples successfully engrafted were cryogenically stored for over 30 years. Scientific researchers believe that items suspended in a cryogenic state can remain viable in a cryogenic state indefinitely.

What processing technology does CellSave use?

Stem cell isolation is a critical step in cord blood banking. It affects the number of stem cells that can be harvested or recovered from the cord blood. Cell recovery rates are critical because a higher number of stem cells could enhance the success of the transplant or treatment. That is why CellSave is using the Sepax® stem cell processing technology, a safe, sterile and fully automated cord blood processing technology – so you get more stem cells for maximum transplant success. This Swiss-made and U.S. FDA-cleared device can recover as high as 99.46% of Total Nucleated Cells (TNC) from cord blood; up to 57% cell count higher than other processing methods.

Product feature Benefits to your family

  • The only cord blood processing technology that processes one cord blood unit at a time
  • Sepax® is calibrated and tested before every procedure, treating every cord blood unit like its first one
  • Uniquely adapted to the qualities of each and every baby’s stem cells, customizing every process accordingly
  • Prevent any sample mix-up and eliminates any possible cross-contamination of your baby’s precious cord blood unit
Fully Automated

  • Requires no external centrifuge or operator intervention during processing
  • Controlled, smooth and precise cell separation by an advanced optical sensor.
  • The yield from cord blood processing is consistent, with reproducible high results (that is, cell recoveries)

  • Every baby’s cord blood unit is fully monitored and traceable throughout each procedure
  • Closed processing system
  • Possesses a troubleshooting system – even in cases of power failure, all cord blood units can be processed without having errors
  • Processing of your baby’s cord blood unit is safe and highly sterile, leaving zero opportunity for error
Cell Recovery

  • Able to achieve as high as 99.46% Total Nucleated Cells (TNC) recovery rate
  • Able to achieve as high as 93% Mono Nucleated Cells (MNC) recovery rate
  • More cells are recovered / harvested from your baby’s cord blood for future treatment (if needed), allowing better chance of a successful transplant
First Laboratory

  • CellSave Arabia is the first private cord blood bank in the region to offer automated cord blood processing with Sepax®
  • Our investment in advanced technology now and in the future means you and your family will benefit from any future technology upgrade for the long-term storage of your baby’s stem cells
How many stem cell samples has CellSave processed and stored?

Our holding company has been in business since 1999, and we have stored more than 700,000 cord blood and tissue stem cell units for over 350,000 families. CellSave has helped many families use their stem cells for life-saving transplants and in clinical trials. With our long history of experience and proven track record, your family can be confident in the quality and dependability of our service.

What is red blood cell (RBC) depletion and why is it done?

Red blood cell depletion or reduction is a procedure performed by almost every stem cell bank around the world before the cryogenic storage of the stem cells. It is the process of removing most of the red blood cells from a cord blood sample before storage. Most cord blood banks, including CellSave, remove the majority of red blood cells from the sample because they may cause severe complications if the sample is used in a transplant. Cryogenically frozen red blood cells often burst when thawed for use and red blood cell fragments in a transplant unit may lead to complications such as anemia, jaundice, and shock, if the cord blood is used in treatment. Also, keeping the red blood cells requires using more cryopreservatives for freezing, increasing the amount of cryopreservative also increases the likelihood that nausea, vomiting, and side effects to the respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous system can occur.

Red blood cells are not part of the healing stem cell population in your newborn’s cord blood, so removing them has little effect on the cells you want to preserve. CellSave’s processing system separates the red blood cells from the lifesaving stem cells with a TNC recovery rate of 99.46%, one of the highest in the industry.

What do I do if I need to retrieve my child's cord blood, tissue, and placenta?

Call us! We will send you and the treating physician the necessary release forms. The physician may first request an aliquot (small test sample) to confirm viability and blood type matching, and to perform HLA testing. We will deliver the aliquot and the subsequent sample(s) to the medical center by overnight courier in a cryogenic shipper. Currently, we do not charge a retrieval fee for samples being used for life-saving medical treatments.

CellSave will ship your baby’s stem cells to an accredited medical treatment facility within the continental United States at no charge for samples being used for lifesaving medical treatments.

What does CellSave charge to retrieve my child’s sample?

Currently, we do not charge a retrieval fee for samples being used for lifesaving medical treatments. CellSave will ship your baby’s stem cells to an accredited medical treatment facility within the continental United States at no charge for samples being used for medical treatments.

How do I enroll with CellSave to save my baby's stem cells?

You can order online via our website by following the “Order Now” link 24/7. If you would like to speak with a Medical Consultant over the phone, please give us a call at 800-2796. A representative is always available.

What makes CellSave different from other private stem cell banks?

CellSave offers families across the region the most advanced and comprehensive stem cell banking services in the world. Over the past 20 years, we have successfully collected and preserved stem cells from over 80 countries across six continents for over 350,000 families, always applying the most advanced technologies and highest industry standards.

Is the company financially stable, and how long has it been in operation?

Our parent company has been in business since 1999, and CellSave Arabia has been in the region since 2005. Each year, our operations have grown and been profitable. Business decisions are conservative and focus on limiting financial risk. We do this to ensure the long-term success of the company.

Is the CellSave lab registered by the FDA, and accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB), and other organizations?

Yes, please click here for details. We are the only licensed and authorized private stem cell laboratory in the UAE and region, giving your family all the trust and confidence in every step of our processes.

When should I decide?

It’s best to let both CellSave and your healthcare providers know of your intention to collect as early as possible. Informing your physician prior to collection permits time to prepare for your collection and ask questions if needed. Since many deliveries occur prior to your due date, we highly recommend you enroll at least 30 days prior to your anticipated due date; However, we can frequently accommodate last minute orders. Call us at 800-2796 if you are at the hospital and need a collection kit.

We are here to help

Have more questions about storing your newborns’ stem cells? Our Medical Consultants and Newborn Stem Cell Specialists would love to help! Give us a call at 800-2796 or contact us here.