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FAQ on the status of your child's cord blood unit

An Update on Your Child's Cord Blood Unit Stored at Cordlife Singapore

The information on this page is relevant to clients who stored their cord blood with Cordlife Singapore.

If you have stored your child’s cord lining or cord tissue with us, rest assured that these units are not affected by the incident.

If you have stored your child’s cord blood in any of our other regional facilities in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, please be assured that these facilities are not affected by the incident. 

If you require further assistance, please contact us at +65 6410 1557 or via email at supportsg@cordlife.com. Please accept our sincere apologies if you experience delays in our response time as we are receiving a high volume of calls and emails. Your concerns are important to us, and we will make every effort to assist you. 

How many tanks and cord blood units have been affected?

There are 22 cryogenic tanks used for cord blood storage in our Singapore facility. For clarity, we’ve classified the tanks into three groups:  

A) One tank is confirmed to have had a temperature irregularity; the cord blood units stored in this tank are unlikely to be suitable to be used for stem cell transplant purposes. This occurred between February and April 2022. 

B)We are working with the Ministry of Health to investigate six other tanks. We expect this investigation to be completed as soon as possible.

C)The Ministry of Health has inspected the temperature records for the remaining 15 tanks, and no concerns were highlighted for these tanks. Therefore, the cord blood units stored in these tanks are not affected

How do I know if my child’s cord blood unit has been affected or not?

We have contacted our clients from all three groups outlined below. In some cases, clients' email addresses and other contact details have changed, so if you have not heard from us, kindly call us at +65 6410 1557 or email us at supportsg@cordlife.com if you require assistance.

Group A

If your child’s cord blood is stored in the first tank (A above), the email will specify that your child’s cord blood unit is unfortunately affected. 

We are truly sorry that this happened, and we will continue to store your child's cord blood unit till your child turns 21 years old.

If you have been paying the storage fee annually, we will waive all future annual fees for the storage of the cord blood from 2022 until your child reaches 21. In cases where clients have made prepayments for the storage fees covering the same period, we will initiate a refund. We will be in touch with an update on this process shortly. 

Group B

If your child’s cord blood is stored in one of the six tanks under investigation (B above), the email will specify that your child’s cord blood unit is stored in one of these tanks.

We are still in the process of carrying out an investigation with the Ministry of Health on these tanks, and due to this, we are unable to elaborate further at this point. We will update you with the results as soon as the investigation is complete. 

Group C

If your child’s cord blood is stored in the remaining 15 tanks (C above), the email will state that your child’s cord blood unit is not affected.

To give you further reassurance regarding the quality and viability of your stored cord blood unit, Cordlife Singapore will voluntarily initiate viability testing of donated cord blood samples stored in the same tank as your child’s. This process will take some time, and we will update you with the results as soon as the investigation is complete. 

When are you going to contact affected or non-affected clients?

We have sent out email correspondences to all affected and non-affected clients of Cordlife Singapore. In some cases, the contact information is not up-to-date. If you have not received any email correspondence in your registered email address, kindly email us at supportsg@cordlife.com.

How can I be sure my cord blood is unaffected?

If your child’s cord blood is stored in the remaining 15 tanks (Group C), you should have or will be receiving an email that will state that your child’s cord blood unit is not affected.

The Ministry of Health has inspected the temperature records for all of our tanks, and no concerns were highlighted in the tank where your child’s cord blood unit is stored. To give you further reassurance regarding the quality and viability of your stored cord blood unit, Cordlife Singapore will voluntarily initiate viability testing of donated cord blood samples stored in the same tank as your child’s. 

We will be working with an independent third-party laboratory to test donated cord blood samples housed in the same tank as your child’s cord blood unit to verify the viability of the cord blood units contained within that tank. This process will take some time, and we will update you with the results as soon as the investigation is complete.

Why did I receive multiple emails? 

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by multiple emails. Your feedback is highly valued, and we acknowledge that the initial email may have lacked clarity and conciseness. In response to your input, we promptly took corrective action to enhance the information, with the goal of giving you a clearer understanding of the status of your child’s cord blood unit. 

We recognise the importance of transparent and effective communication, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

What safeguard is in place if my child’s cord blood is impacted and cannot be used in an approved cord blood transplant?

We would like to reassure you that there is a clause in the service agreement you signed with us that protects you if, in the opinion of your transplant physician, it is subsequently determined that the cord blood cannot be successfully used for an approved cord blood transplant solely because it does not meet the viability criteria, Cordlife will make every effort to find a suitable replacement cord blood for your child.

How can you find a replacement for the same cord blood? 

While we recognise that a replacement cord blood unit may not be your first choice, we are committed to finding all available options in order to provide you with the closest match possible. We understand the uniqueness of each individual's cord blood, and we will work with the public cord blood banks worldwide to find a suitable match for your child if the need arises. 

Can I transfer my child’s cord blood to an alternative blood bank provider? 

We understand that you may be considering transferring your cord blood elsewhere, and while we hope you will reconsider, we are here to assist if you decide to proceed with the transfer. However, we would like to highlight that we do not recommend clients take this step for the following reasons:

1. Transferring cord blood from one facility to another involves risks, and we believe that our clients’ cord blood units are safer in their current cryogenic tanks than being transported to an alternative provider. We kindly ask for your patience as we work to complete the investigation with MOH. We are committed to providing you with a comprehensive update as soon as possible. In addition, we continue to work closely with MOH and have been strengthening our systems, processes, and procedures to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.

2. You are currently protected by the client agreement you signed with us. Cordlife Singapore’s standard service agreement states that if, in the opinion of your transplant physician, it is subsequently determined that the cord blood cannot be successfully used for an approved cord blood transplant solely because it does not meet the viability criteria, Cordlife will make every effort to find a suitable replacement cord blood for your child. A new service provider may not be able to uphold this promise.

Why am I receiving separate email updates for my children? Why can’t I get an update on all my children’s CBU at once?

We understand that some clients who have stored multiple cord blood units with us may receive multiple emails. We're providing updates in batches as part of our ongoing verification process. We regret any inconvenience resulting from receiving multiple messages and acknowledge the value of clear communication. Your understanding during this process is highly appreciated. If you have any concerns or need further clarification, feel free to reach out to us.

I banked my child’s cord lining or cord tissue with you too, is it affected?

If you have stored your child’s cord lining or cord tissue with us, we would also like to assure you that cord lining and cord tissue units are unaffected by this incident.

What is the status of the testing of cord blood samples from Cordlife’s tanks in Singapore?

Since the end of December 2023, we have been sending donated cord blood samples from the tanks under investigation to a third-party laboratory in Singapore licensed by MOH for testing in batches. The nature of the tests is such that each batch may take between 3 and 6 weeks to be completed, depending on whether there is a need to conduct repeat testing of samples from the same tank. Samples from the remaining unaffected tanks will also undergo testing in due course.

What are donated cord blood samples?

Donated cord blood samples are specimens provided by donors. The approach of using donated samples to monitor conditions within our storage tanks is a standard practice among cord blood banks worldwide. Testing these samples allows us to determine the quality and stability of all stored cord blood units, including yours, that are maintained in the same tank.

Can you perform viability tests on my child's cord blood?

We do not recommend conducting viability tests on your child's sample unless it is required for a transplant or infusion to ensure that all segments of the cord blood are preserved. Using donated cord blood samples as proxies, we can determine the condition of other cord blood samples housed in the same tank. This approach is a standard practice adopted by cord blood banks globally.

When will clients of the investigating tanks be informed about the results? 

If your cord blood unit is in one of the six tanks under investigation, the results for each tank will be progressively finalised and along with the Ministry of Health (MOH), we estimate the final results will be ready by the end of March 2024. 

Throughout this time, we will be continuing to work closely with the MOH and the third-party laboratory that is testing the donated cord blood samples.

After this process has been completed for tanks under investigation, we will proceed to test all donated samples in the rest of our tanks not under investigation. We ask for patience as we prioritise the testing of donated samples in tanks that are currently under investigation. 

Rest assured that as soon as we have any updates regarding the testing process and expected timelines, we will promptly communicate those details to you.