Banking Cord Blood – A Look Inside ViaCord Processing Lab
Amid the hustle, bustle and celebration of your baby’s birth, your doctor collects the cord blood and packs the unit to send to ViaCord. But what happens next? We asked Gail Foertsch, Senior Manager at the ViaCord Processing Laboratory (VPL), to give parents an inside look at how we process your child’s cord blood in our state-of-the-art facility. Here’s what she had to say:
“Delivered Safe and Sound
With the help of a private medical courier service specializing in transporting biopharmaceutical materials, collected cord blood units arrive at our AABB-accredited, CLIA-certified, FDA-registered and industry benchmarked facility just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The first step we take is cross-referencing important information on the cord blood unit, including the mother’s name, ViaCord identification number and time and date of the collection, with our database. This ensures the safety and security of your child’s cord blood right from the start.
Handled with Care
All processing takes place within the ViaCord Class 100,000 cleanroom, which is designed to prevent airborne contamination. At the first step, the cord blood unit is weighed and measured, and a sample is taken to determine blood type and cell count. From there, highly qualified and competency tested technicians use a centrifugation process to isolate the stem cells. After processing another sample is taken to determine cell count, including the number and viability of hematopoietic progenitor stem cells.
Preserved and Protected
From there, a cryopreservative is added to the unit before using a controlled method to freeze it. Our cyropreservation and controlled freeze process has been validated to ensure stem cells will maintain maximum potency once thawed in preparation for transplant or infusion. Once frozen, the unit is transferred to long-term liquid nitrogen vapor storage. Our vacuum-jacketed, liquid nitrogen freezers are kept in a secure storage facility adjacent to our lab. Each tank is monitored 24/7.
Every ViaCord employee knows that when a cord blood unit enters our doors, it could potentially save someone’s life—and we never lose sight of that. Our experienced laboratory staff is highly trained and must pass rigorous annual competency assessments. All technicians are required to know how to process a unit of cord blood from start to finish.
All our families should know that ViaCord’s Processing Lab is passionate about the safety and security of your child’s cord blood. To date, ViaCord has banked the cord blood of over 250,000 cord blood units for families. But we treat each unit like it’s the only one.”
Thank you, Gail, for taking time out of your busy days to share with us how cord blood units are processed at ViaCord’s Processing Lab. The hard work and dedication of the entire VPL team is appreciated by so many and allows ViaCord to provide the valuable service that we do.