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March 5, 2024

Anja FAQ: Collection, Storage & Preservation

Understand how the collection of cord blood and tissue works and the logistics of shipping the collection kit. Watch our 90-second Quick Start video to better understand the process! Have another question? Email our team.

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How do we know enough cord blood is collected?

If delayed cord clamping is done for only 2 minutes max or less (or not at all), it is extremely likely that enough stem cells were collected. Inside of your collection kit, we tell the provider who does your collection exactly what to collect and how much.

We follow up with a stem cell certificate 1 month after birth so you can get an exact stem cell count. We also provide a stem cell certificate guide so you can easily understand and analyze the information.

Discover the Anja Health Lab

Our lab is a New Jersey-based beaut! 

She stands tall with accomplishments, including being an FDA-registered, AABB-accredited, and American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics accredited member. She is also certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and holds an NJDEP Radioactive Materials License. 

In addition, we maintain licenses from the New Jersey State Department of Health for Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank and from the New York State Department of Health for Clinical Laboratory Permits and Tissue Bank Licenses.

Since opening, our lab has successfully processed 35,000+ cord blood samples and dispatched hundreds of samples for stem cell transplants.

What measures are taken to maximize the collection of stem cells?

  1. We ensure that CPD and not heparin is used in our cord blood bags. CPD has been unanimously chosen amongst the cord blood banking industry as the best anti-coagulant to use in cord blood bags. CPD does not break down, while heparin does, and unlike heparin, CPD is not an animal product. Thus, it is not as likely to have been exposed to bacteria and viruses as Heparin has. This study illustrates the importance of CPD further: cord blood collected with liquid CPD has 30% more total nucleated cells and 58% more CD34+ cells (AKA stem cells) than similar collections with heparin.

       2. We use manual processing to process our stem cells. Manual processing is handled in the lab by trained technicians rather than a machine. Manual processing is utilized by Anja Health because in the case that very minimal samples are collected (i.e. <40 mL of cord blood), the lab technicians can customize procedures as needed in order to maximize stem cell preservation.

Can I just freeze the cord blood, cord tissue, and placenta myself?

No, maintaining stem cell viability requires careful cryopreservation in extreme temperatures. (-190° Celsius for safe-keeping!)

These stem cells have no known expiration date so we’ll keep them safe as long as you need.

How does collection and storage work?

Immediately after birth, your baby's umbilical cord is clamped and cut. A doctor or midwife draws cord blood from the clamped cord into a collection bag.

Once you call the number on our collection kit or fill out the pickup form to alert our shipping team that you've given birth, a medical courier picks up the collection kit and speedily delivers it to a lab.

Necessary testing and processing are carried out, and cord blood stem cells are stored in a liquid nitrogen storage tank within a lab facility.

Who notifies my physician that I'm banking?

Physicians and nurses have to be notified in order to complete collection via fax- we also have explanatory instructions inside of our kits for providers on the day of the baby's birth.

We also recommend that you forward our provider instructions link to your doula, midwife, and/or physician prior to birth for their knowledge and convenience.

Why do I need to give a maternal sample for cord blood banking?

During childbirth, a small sample of blood is taken from the mother and used to test for certain genetic disorders and infections that could be present in the mother or the baby. This is known as the maternal sample for cord blood banking.

The cord blood, which is collected from the baby after the umbilical cord is cut, contains stem cells that can be used in medical treatments. These stem cells have the ability to regenerate and develop into different types of cells in the body, which makes them a valuable resource for treating a variety of diseases and conditions.

However, before the cord blood can be processed and cryopreserved for potential future use, it must first be tested to ensure that it is free of any genetic disorders or infections that could be passed on to a patient. This is where the maternal sample comes into play.

The maternal sample is tested to check for certain genetic disorders and infections, such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). If the test results are normal, it indicates that the cord blood is likely to be healthy and suitable for use in medical treatments.

Once the cord blood has been collected and tested by Anja Health’s lab experts, it can be stored in Anja’s cord blood bank for potential future use. Our lab is responsible for maintaining the quality of the stored cord blood and making it available for use in medical treatments when needed.

The use of cord blood in medical treatments is still relatively new, but it has already shown promising results in treating a variety of diseases and conditions, such as leukemia, anemia, and certain immune disorders. In the future, it is possible that cord blood will be used to treat an even wider range of diseases and conditions.

Overall, the maternal sample for cord blood banking plays a crucial role in ensuring that the cord blood collected from a baby is healthy and suitable for use in medical treatments. By testing the maternal sample, doctors and medical professionals can ensure that the cord blood is free of any genetic disorders or infections that could potentially be harmful to a patient.

What's the Maternal Blood Draw All About?

The maternal blood draw is a necessary step that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires for all cord blood banking companies. It involves taking a small sample of the mom's blood to test for infectious diseases. These tests cover things like Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus Types 1 and 2 (AIDS), Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Types I/II (HTLV I/II), and Syphilis. These tests ensure the safety and quality of the collected cord blood for your little one.

When Should You Get the Maternal Blood Draw?

Timing is everything! To get accurate results, the maternal blood draw should happen after you're admitted to the hospital for delivery, ideally within two hours before or after the baby arrives. It's important to squeeze it in before any intravenous (IV) fluids are given. Just give the admissions or medical staff a heads-up about saving your baby's cord blood, and they'll make sure to include the maternal blood draw sample in the Collection Kit alongside your baby's cord blood. Easy peasy!

Is Anja a private or public storage bank?

Anja is a private bank. When you bank your baby's stem cells with us, you own the exclusive rights to your stem cells and can make a personal decision on how they’re used for your family or otherwise.

If your child or a family member needs the cells, we will transfer your stem cells with your physician's order directly to your healthcare facility for treatment.

To learn more, check out our post: Public Vs. Private Cord Blood Banking

What happens to my stored stem cells if Anja closes?

All biological goods stored with Anja will stay in our New Jersey lab regardless of what happens to Anja as a business. While we don't see this happening, rest assured that our client relationship management and connection would be securely transferred to a responsible, experienced party if necessary.

How does Anja track and trace each individual's stem cells?

Mixing up biological goods would be a violation of your personal property, so we have every FDA and AABB mandate in place to ensure that there would be absolutely no mix up whatsoever.

We also carefully label every single sample multiple times (you may note our collection instructions require every sample to be labeled), and track where they are every step of the way.

Discover Anja's Lab

Is stem cell collection during birth a painful process?

No, stem cell collection at birth is not painful.

The stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord and placenta, which are not sensitive to pain. The collection process is a simple, painless procedure that does not require anesthesia or involve any risks to the mother or baby.

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