Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ – Cord blood

What is cord blood?

Umbilical cord blood is located in the umbilical cord and in the placenta, which join the baby to the mother during pregnancy and provide nutrition and breathing for the baby. Although the umbilical cord and the placenta become unnecessary after birth, blood collected from these organs can save the life of a child in later years. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, which can be used to treat a number of diseases.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are undifferentiated, non-specialized cells that have the ability of self-renewal and which can transform into any type of body cells. This ability allows stem cells to replace damaged cells and repair tissues and organs when they are injured. Stem cells act as "reservoirs of spare parts" for the body. Stem cells are found in large amounts in cord blood and bone marrow, to a lesser extent in peripheral blood, body tissues and organs.

How do cord blood stem cells differ from stem cells of blood or bone marrow?

Cord blood contains very young, well dividing immature stem cells that are able to differentiate into all types of body cells which are not yet affected by external and internal factors, such as lifestyle or disease. As the quality of stem cells decreases with age, cord blood provides stem cells of the highest quality.

Why do we need to preserve cord blood stem cells?

Even before the baby is born, it is appropriate to consider its health and any illnesses which may appear in childhood or adulthood. Cord blood should be preserved for preventative and therapeutic purposes. Transplantation of our own cord blood is advantageous as it eliminates the risk of rejection of the transplanted cells. Cord blood stem cells, as well as stem cells from bone marrow, have the ability to divide and transform into many things, e.g. muscle, nerve and bone cells. Their potential is used in hematology, immunology, oncology, infectious medicine and increasingly in regenerative medicine.

How is cord blood collected? May it disrupt the delivery and put the health of the baby at risk?

The collection of cord blood poses no risk to the baby or the mother. There is no intervention in the delivery. Cord blood is collected immediately after childbirth. The blood collection begins before the delivery of placenta. The umbilical cord is ligated as normal and cut and then baby is handed over to the paediatrician. Inside the uterus the umbilical cord is still attached to placenta. The umbilical cord is washed, rinsed with a sterile solution and placed on a sterile cloth. The collection of the cord blood is made with a specially prepared kit. A member of the medical personel inserts a needle into the umbilical vein in a part of the cord. The mother does not feel it and the blood flows spontaneously into the collection bag. The placenta is delivered after the blood collection has been made. This is painless, no stage of delivery is disrupted and the health of the child or the mother is not at risk.

Can be the cord blood collected when the birth is given by C-section (Caesarean section)?

The collection of cord blood is possible even during a C-section (Caesarean section).

Can be cord blood collected in a multiple pregnancy?

Cord blood collection is also possible in multiple pregnancies (twins, etc.). The cord blood is collected the same way as in the case of one baby delivery; therefore each child can have preserved its own blood.

What should I do if I plan a collection of stem cells from cord blood?

You can complete a non-binding form for cord blood collection on our website and our staff will contact you and arrange the next steps.

How long can be cord blood preserved?

Legislation or institutions that supervise cord blood do not specify a time limit for cell preservation. But they require validation of processing and preservation of the cells in order to guarantee the quality of preserved cells after thawing and, thus the viability of cells for subsequent application. Our company preserves the cord blood in liquid nitrogen, which is the best medium for long-term storage of cells. We also use the most modern technology (BioArchive) that guarantees the viability of cells after thawing (including cells preserved for several decades).

Where is possible to undergo cord blood collection?

It is possible to undergo cord blood collection in all hospitals, which are contracting partners with the Czech Gene Bank.

FAQ – Peripheral blood

What are the advantages of stem cells collection?

Peripheral blood preservation helps prevention – it is a health investment for the future.

What specific illnesses and problems can be treated using stem cells?

Normally these cells are used for replacement of haematopoiesis, e.g. diseases or damage of bone marrow, blood cancer, immunological diseases, in regenerative medicine and neurology.

What is the difference between the use of autologous (one’s own) and allogeneic (from a donor) stem cells?

During treatment with stem cells it is also possible to use cells that have been taken from another person (allogeneic), however, there is a risk that these donated cells will be not accepted. This risk can be prevented by collecting and then using your own stem cells (autologous).

What is the optimal age for collection and preservation of blood stem cells?

The optimal time for blood stem cells collection is between the ages of 15 and 50.

Can I have stem cells collected in old age? Can the cells help me then?

Stem cells maintain their activity (the ability to divide and develop into different types of cells), in old age too, but in lower quantity. In such a case the collection of peripheral blood stem cells takes longer or is repeated.

What should I do if I plan the collection of stem cells from peripheral blood?

You can complete a non-binding form for peripheral blood collection on our website. Our staff will then contact you and arrange the next steps.

How is the peripheral blood collected?

Peripheral blood collection for the separation of stem cells is carried out as an out-patient on the Spectra Optia separator and takes approximately 2–3 hours.

Should I somehow prepare for the collection of stem cells from peripheral blood?

We recommend some lifestyle adjustments before the collection of stem cells from peripheral blood (3–6 months in advance) as the collected cells should be in the best condition for future use.