You may have learnt about cord blood banking in Singapore through your appointments to your gynae, and wonder what it is all about. Chances are most parents will find it really expensive as costs can vary from $5,000+ to $9,000+ for enrolment and annual storage fees, but is it really as expensive as it seems? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? We are pretty sure you have a million questions running wildly in your head; same as us when we had our first child. Hence, in this Best of Baby series, we introduce the 4 Best Cord Blood Banks in Singapore, sharing with you comprehensive information on cord blood banking to make a better informed decision.
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History of cord blood banking
Ever since the first successful treatment of a case of Fanconi’s anemia with the use of umbilical cord blood transplant back in 1988, cord blood has been established as a great alternative source of stem cells. The importance of cord blood lies in its ability to be a source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are cells that can mature into different types of blood cells. These stem cells can be used in treating several illnesses and diseases that affect the body’s blood-forming system, such as blood-borne diseases, immune system deficiencies, genetic disorders, metabolic diseases, and cancers.  
Before, both the placenta and umbilical cord are discarded after every delivery. But now that the potential of cord blood and tissue are known to the world, hospitals and OB-GYNs brief expecting mothers about the possible uses of cord blood as a biological insurance. Preserving such a great material for numerous possible treatments is only a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which is why cord blood banks stepped in the scene, offering families a way to safeguard their loved ones’ future.
Cord blood banking in Singapore – is it worth it?
Cord blood banking in Singapore is not cheap, that much is true. However, you must take into consideration that this is a type of investment that can potentially help your child in the future to recover from a life-threatening illness. With cord blood banking, you will have the required material (stem cells) readily available for your child’s treatment, eliminating the waiting time that comes with looking for possible compatible donors. Moreover, since the stem cells will come directly from the placenta and umbilical cord your child was nurtured in, the stem cells are certain to be a perfect match for your child and highly compatible with his or her siblings!
What’s even better is that unlike other forms of stem cell transplantation (such as bone marrow transplantation), using cord blood as a source of stem cells is a lot more advantageous due to the following reasons: cord blood availability, ease of extraction, low-cost acquisition, negligible risk to donor, low chance of receiver rejection/flexible matching, and less chance of graft vs. host infection (GVHI).  
It also helps to know that you can use your child’s Child Development Account (CDA) to pay for the cord blood banking costs! With the government co-matching your CDA top ups, and even increasing the co-matching amount to $6,000 for your second child, you can essentially cover the entire costs of your cord blood banking with CDA.
If you weigh the advantages versus costs, and factoring in the fact that CDA can help to cover the fees, cord blood banking in Singapore appears to be a worthy investment to undertake. Should you have an alternative plan for your child’s CDA account, and choose to take up paying the fees yourself, it may still even be worth it. If you translate the costs from a one-time fee to a monthly figure, you will end up paying around $23-35/month, which seems like a decent amount (consider Netflix + Spotify + Disney+). At the end of the day, just be sure to ensure it makes financial sense for you and your family!
To help you further with deciding to take up on cord blood banking or not, here’s an overview of cord blood banking in Singapore.
Cord blood banking in Singapore: Public vs. Private
As of now, there are two types of cord blood banks available in Singapore: public and private. Here’s a quick comparison of the two:
- The public cord blood bank, Singapore Cord Blood Bank (SCBB), does not charge any fees for storage of cord blood. These cord blood units are donated and provide for the public’s needs. Units stored in public cord blood banks are free to use by anyone who matches the stem cells. There is a waiting line in getting stem cells from public cord blood banks, since a certain match must be found first among all units stored. Usually, donors can acquire cord blood units for free, while non-donors need to pay a fee. It is worth noting that SCBB also has private cord blood banking options.
- Private cord blood banks charge a monthly or yearly fee for storage. This type of banking is also called family cord blood banking, since the cord blood is readily available for your family’s use. Units are stored privately, and only you and your family have the jurisdiction over its use.
There have been reports of stem cell fraud cases, where companies advertise the use of cord blood as a treatment for some diseases that do not involve blood stem cell regeneration. Thus, it is vital to check the company’s track record, license, accreditation, and current performance or technology, before choosing a cord blood bank. This way, you can ensure that your investment is safe and secured.
This article was last updated on 10 January 2023.
Best Cord Blood Banks in Singapore
Built on medical expertise to offer hope
Founded in 2002, StemCord offers the processing and preservation of cord blood stem cells. The company is founded by licensed and experienced practicing medical oncologists, haematologists, and physicians, continuing the path of upholding the high standards in the field of cord blood banking even after almost 20 years.
With over 40,000 cord blood and/or tissue units stored (dated last 2017), StemCord continuously improves their services through the use of latest technologies and techniques in order to offer the best service possible.
MOH-licensed and internationally accredited by FACT-NetCord
All cord blood banks within the country are required to be audited and licensed by the Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), and StemCord is no exception. But StemCord goes the extra mile—they set their sights on international accreditation.
The company was awarded four times with an international accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and NetCord for their services and facilities.
StemCord meets the most stringent of standards in cord blood collection, processing, testing, banking, selection, and release of cord blood units. They have fully-equipped laboratories, utilizing sepaxⓇ fully-automated systems and multiple cryogenic storage units, where your cord blood units are stored safely.
Cord blood & tissue banking with unique storage for better service and extra security
Besides cord blood banking services, StemCord also provides cord stem cell banking – stem cells extracted & cultured from umbilical cord tissue. The difference between cord blood and cord stem cells is that the former is a great source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), while the latter contains abundant mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Research indicates that these MSCs are capable of possible treatment of conditions of damaged tissue such as heart, nerve, cartilage, bone, muscle, liver, cartilage, and fat tissue.
StemCord stores cord blood in 2 different cryo bags giving clients the flexibility to use the stem cells more than once and maximising the potential for multiple treatments. Besides, StemCord provides added security by storing the cord blood units in 2 separate storage facilities.
As for cord stem cells processing, StemCord will process, isolate, culture and cryopreserve the stem cells in ISO 5 Cleanroom before storage ensuring that the quality cells are readily available for treatment when needed.
What is the cost of cord blood banking & cord stem cells banking?
Cord blood storage is a long-term commitment that can last for up to 21 years. With StemCord, there is a onetime upfront fee of $1,400 and annual storage fee can cost you around $23-35/month. This payment already encompasses processes, equipment, facilities, and personnel.
Additionally, offset to cord blood banking costs is also possible via Baby Bonus Scheme’s Child Development Account (CDA).
StemCord’s cord blood banking packages automatically come with four bonus covers, offering an added security in terms of finances:
- StemCord Transplant MediCare – $50,000 to defray medical costs for stem cell transplant
- StemCord QualityPlus – $75,000 to defray cost of procuring an alternative stem cell source
- StemCord Care21 – coverage for your child’s cord blood for up to 21 years
- StemCord AssuredPlus – offers confirmatory assurance test when the cord blood is released
Terms & conditions apply
Easy banking process with StemCord
Banking with StemCord is made easy with their streamlined process. Scheduling an appointment is encouraged at the start of the 3rd trimester, which can be done online. You can even request for an information kit here.
During the appointment, a thorough consultation and discussion with a friendly consultant happens, so the parents are well-informed about the implications and processes of cord blood banking. After the enrollment process, a collection box will be provided, which you will take to the hospital on the day of your baby’s delivery.
It is vital to also let your attending doctor know that you enrolled for cord blood collection, or if you have signed up for both cord blood and cord stem cell collection as the doctor will be the one performing the collection and the nurses in the delivery suite will prepare the necessary equipment and steps to use the cord blood collection kit. On the day of delivery, simply pass the collection box to the nurse or attending doctor. A 24-hour hotline is available to reach StemCord upon delivery, and arrangement will be made by the hospital for StemCord staff to pick up the cord blood unit to transfer it to the laboratory for processing and storage.
To know more about StemCord Cord Blood and Cord stem Cells Banking services, watch their informative video below:
firstname.lastname@example.org | (65) 6741 2002
6 Napier Road #02-13, Singapore 258499
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Singapore’s only public cord blood bank
Singapore Cord Blood Bank (SCBB) started solely as a public cord blood bank when it was founded last 2005. However, in 2017, SCBB expanded into private cord blood banking. This way, they can meet the needs of families and the public community through private and community banking. The perks of banking with SCBB is having the flexibility to choose whether to store the baby’s cord blood for their family’s use, if ever the need arises, or to donate it later so that it can be used to treat life-threatening conditions of other patients, such as blood cancers and disorders. Private banking with SCBB can cost up to $5,200 for 21 years of storage, while public banking is free because it is a donation for the community.
Like StemCord, SCBB is also locally and internationally accredited, adhering to stringent standards for cord blood banking. To date, SCBB has successfully facilitated 282 cord blood transplants, and they have over 11,000 cord blood units (CBUs) in storage that are readily available for use.
Strict volume and quality requirements
SCBB only stores cord blood and not cord tissue. Like any other cord blood banks, acquisition of the cord blood takes place right after delivery. Each bag of cord blood forwarded to their laboratories undergoes an evaluation for volume of blood, number of stem cells, and cell viability. They have a strict volume and quality requirements to make sure that each bag of cord blood would actually be useful for future treatments. If the cord blood does not meet their requirements, it would not be processed in the laboratory any further.
If the cord blood, however, meets these stringent requirements, SCBB immediately processes the cord blood within 36-48 hours of acquisition to maximize the stem cell recovery. The resulting 25 mL bag of white blood cell concentrate, or the Cord Blood Unit (CBU) then undergoes cryopreservation processes. This CBU will be stored until a patient in need matches with the stem cells.
Benefits of donating and public banking
Public banking is endorsed by many health professionals and organizations because statistics show that only 0.04% of cord blood stored in private blood banks are actually put into use in treatments. Meanwhile, cord blood donations in public cord blood banks are used in treatments much more frequently because patients are waiting in line for a match. What’s even greater is that SCBB does not charge donors any fee, whether it’s for the collection of the cord blood or banking/storage.
Cord blood donations increase the probability of finding a match for patients in need, which is the main goal of SCBB. And as mentioned earlier, if you’re a donor, you can acquire CBU for free; on the other hand, non-donors usually need to pay up to $27,000. Thus, donating cord blood to SCBB is like hitting two birds with one stone: you get to help other people in need, and you get to save money if ever the need for a cord blood unit arises. However, bear in mind that once you’ve donated the cord blood, it would no longer be your family’s property; it will be publicly available for the whole community to use.
|Singapore Cord Blood Bank|
email@example.com | (65) 6394 5011
KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital 100 Bukit Timah Road, Women’s Tower Basement 1, Unit OB60A, Singapore 229899
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One of the biggest private cord blood banks in Singapore
Cordlife came into operation last 2001 as one of the first private cord blood banks in Singapore. To date, Cordlife has become one of the biggest private cord blood banks alongside StemCord. Even after 20 years of being one of the leading cord blood banking service providers in Singapore, Cordlife is still looking to expand and offer their services to families, expanding to other countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia, and the Philippines. This way, they can help more families with cord blood banking and stem cell treatment.
Cordlife is SE Asia’s first Dual Accredited Family Cord Blood Bank; they’re both locally and internationally accredited, boasting an AABB Accreditation since 2005, a FACT Accreditation since 2015, and a license from Singapore’s Ministry of Health. Another great thing about Cordlife is that you can freely check their Track Record, which is important if you want to know if the stored cord blood really is usable in treatments and transplants. Information such as cord blood release count, recipient’s relationship with donor, medical condition, treatment type, and storage time are conveniently reflected on the website.
Private storage of cord blood and umbilical cord lining
What sets Cordlife apart from other blood banks is that they have their own storage facility, which is the reason why they have such stable storage prices and full control on the security of the blood bank. This means you probably won’t encounter many price hikes for their storage fees with their political and socio-economic stability, and you can rest assured that Cordlife invests on the best storage facilities for better processing and storage.
Unlike other blood banks, Cordlife does not only store cord blood but they also store umbilical cord lining. With a high concentration of MSCs and Cord Lining Epithelial Stem Cells (CLEpSCs), cord lining is seen to be a promising material for tissue repair and regeneration. Banking at Cordlife is a bit more expensive; the total cost can amount to $6,900 for 21 years of storage, which consists of an upfront payment of $1,200-$1,600. You can choose between cord blood banking only or opt for both cord blood and lining banking.
Going the extra mile with an amazing Safeguard Program
What we absolutely love about Cordlife is that alongside their top-notch cord blood/lining banking services, they also offer Cordlife Care 360°. It gives families an added peace of mind, giving partial coverage for possible pregnancy or childbirth complications and future stem cell treatments. Furthermore, if ever you and your spouse passes away or suffers from Total and Permanent Disability, Cordlife will waive off your child’s future storage payments. With this program, you can save thousands of dollars while ensuring your child’s future health treatments.
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1 Yishun Industrial Street 1, #06-01/09 A’POSH BIZHUB Singapore 76810
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Affordable private cord blood and cord tissue storage
Founded last 2014, Cryoviva is a private cord blood bank that has a partnership with SCBB. What this partnership entails is that they work with SCBB for the processing and storage of cord blood or tissue; they do not handle all stored units by themselves, unlike other private cord blood banks like Cordlife.
What sets Cryoviva apart from SCBB besides being a private cord blood bank is that they also offer umbilical cord tissue storage. What’s also great is that Cryoviva has a significantly cheaper rate than other private banks, which is only $4,950 for full 21 years of banking if you opt to pay the whole fee up front. This is a great option for those who want to save money in the long run. If, however, you want to opt for their annual and monthly payment, the fees can amount to $6,000.
Strategic lab placements for top-notch maintenance upon storage
Cryoviva, albeit being a relatively new cord blood bank, has already risen to the top list of reputed cord blood banks in Singapore. They are locally and internationally accredited, having an MOH license, AABB accreditation, and being an IS ISO 9001:2015 QMS Certified facility. To date, Cryoviva has already stored over 160,000 cord blood units (CBUs), providing the best service to both local and international clients.
Cryoviva is centrally located and in close proximity to most major maternity hospitals in Singapore. It’s amazing how this placement of their facilities was strategically done, aiming to shorten travel time to ensure top-notch maintenance upon storage of CBUs. Thus, it’s no surprise that even after only a few years of operation, Cryoviva already made a name in the industry of cord blood bank storage.
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Congratulations on your pregnancy, and wishing both mum and baby the best of health! Do share this with your friends and family members who may find this guide useful. Hope you enjoy your experience in your chosen maternity hospital in Singapore!