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Family Bank: Cells for Life

Cells for Life


Cells for Life is part of CooperSurgical®, a renowned name in women’s healthcare, and is part of the world’s largest private newborn stem cell preservation organization – storing more than 1.2 million newborn stem cell samples worldwide.

Labs and Locations

The CooperSurgical-owned laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, processes cord blood and cord tissue collections from all over North America, 365 days a year. This state-of-the-art facility has the capacity to store five million newborn stem cell samples. Other locations include facilities in Markham, Ontario and Mississauga, Ontario.

Business Experience

Cells for Life was founded in 1997 and is one of Canada’s oldest and largest cord blood programs. Cells for Life understands that parents want to ensure that their baby’s cord blood stem cells are not only safely processed and stored, but that the highest quality control measures are in place.

At the end of 2017, Insception Lifebank acquired Cells for Life. Since then, Insception Biosciences Inc. has continued to offer services under both the Insception Lifebank and Cells for Life brands.

Insception Biosciences Inc. was acquired by Cell Care, Australia's largest private cord blood bank, in October 2016. Then in June 2021, the Cell Care International cord blood banks, including the Insception Lifebank and Cells for Life brands, were all acquired by Generate Life Sciences, a conglomerate that had already combined the US private newborn stem cell banks, Cord Blood Registry and FamilyCord. Subsequently, Generate Life Sciences was acquired by CooperSurgical, a subsidiary of publicly-traded CooperCompanies (NYSE:COO), at the end of 2021.

CooperSurgical is committed to advancing the health of women, babies and families with its diversified portfolio of products and services focusing on medical devices and fertility & genomics. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, CooperCompanies has a workforce of more than 12,000 with products sold in over 100 countries.

Collection Kit

The Cells for Life collection kit utilizes a sterile cord blood collection bag, which is pre-filled with citrate phosphate dextrose (CPD) anti-coagulant. An anti-coagulant helps keep the cells from clotting during transportation. Having more cells available could mean more treatment possibilities in the future.

Transportation container

The Cells for Life collection kit is crush-resistant and built with a dense foam insulant that increases shock absorption and helps shield samples from extreme temperatures. It also helps ensure that the collection kit keeps samples safe and secure during transit.

Shipping Info

Whether you're delivering at a hospital, birthing centre, or your home, couriers will collect your Cells for Life collection kit within a few hours of your call, 365 days a year.  Contact information for Airspace, the courier used by Cells for Life, is provided in the kit. Once Airspace picks up the kit, our team can track it each step of the way.

Processing Method

Cord Blood 

Fast, precise, and consistent results are a must – which is one of the many reasons Cells for Life uses the AXP® II AutoXpress™ platform. (AXP® and AutoXpress are trademarks of ThermoGenesis Corp.)

  • AXP II is an automated, closed processing method. Having a closed processing method helps reduce the risk of contamination and automation maintains consistency.2
  • AXP II uses centrifugation and an optical sensor to separate cells. Unlike some other methods, it does not introduce chemical additives.3
  • The cord blood stem cell recovery data reported by the Tucson lab and others for AXP II processing is consistently higher than the published data of other processing methods.4,5,6
  • Why is cell recovery significant? Cord blood has a finite number of powerful stem cells. An efficient and precise processing method can mean a larger reserve of cells stored for your family’s future.

Cord Tissue

  • The quality and metabolic health of cord tissue samples are now evaluated with the ActivCord™ test, the first test of its kind to evaluate the quality and metabolic health of the cord tissue.
  • While cord tissue science is still in its early stages, Cells for Life believes that the best in technology and applications is yet to come. And since isolation techniques may vary depending on how the cells are used, we believe storing cord tissue whole preserves the most possibilities for patients. Data suggests that the MSCs isolated from whole cryopreserved cord tissue retain the properties needed for future clinical use.7
  • This means preserving cord tissue whole may maximize potential future options by preserving other potentially valuable cells.

Components Stored

Cells for Life clients may choose to store newborn stem cells in the form of cord blood, cord tissue, or both.

  • For cord blood, the AXP II processing method is used to remove plasma, reduce the red blood cells, and retain the hematopoietic stem cells.
  • By freezing cord tissue in whole segments, all the potentially beneficial cell types, including mesenchymal, endothelial, and epithelial cells, are preserved.8
  • All cord blood and cord tissue samples for Cells for Life clients are measured against a quality standard. If a sample’s results fall outside of these parameters, families have the option to speak with a clinical specialist regarding the results and potential implications. The client will be offered a full refund of any storage fees paid (and in some cases, collection fees) if, for any reason, the sample is not collected or Cells for Life determines the sample cannot be stored. Once their samples are successfully stored, families are given a Certificate of Deposit to print for their records.

Storage Method

Cord blood samples for Cells for Life clients are now stored using a seamless, multi-compartment cryobag. Additionally, all cord blood and cord tissue samples are now placed in a second overwrap layer of plastic, which is hermetically sealed, as an extra precaution.

All units are stored in dewars, which are large, insulated vessels specially designed for long-term cryostorage. Units are suspended above a pool of liquid nitrogen that creates a vapour-phase environment kept at minus 196 degrees Celsius. This keeps the units at an appropriate temperature without the risk of cross-contamination that comes with liquid-phase environment. Samples for Cells for Life clients are now also offered the following protection:

  • The storage facility is located in Tucson, Arizona, which historically has a low risk of natural disasters like earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, and floods.9
  • Daily environmental monitoring checks are performed on storage tanks to ensure proper function.
  • Millions of dollars have been invested to ensure proper backups of critical power systems. In addition, there are two 34,000-litre backup tanks of liquid nitrogen on site.

How long can units remain viable in cryopreservation? Cord blood cells stored for 27 years have been shown to behave similarly to freshly collected cord blood cells.10 Based on this information, it is believed that, when stored properly, cord blood units should be able to be stored indefinitely.

Licensing & Accreditation

Samples for Cells for Life clients are maintained in accordance with standards associated with Health Canada registration, FDA registration, and AABB accreditation.

Quality management and consistency for newborn stem cell samples are important to Cells for Life. In order to continue to ensure each sample is handled with the highest standards of care, consideration, and consistency, Cells for Life samples will be processed in a CLIA accredited facility and stored in ISO 9001:2015 certified facilities.

Clinical Experience

As of the end of 2022, more than 700 cord blood samples have been released from the Tucson lab with the intention to be used by client families, and more than 50 samples have been released from Canada.1 Cells for Life utilizes a dedicated and highly experienced Release Team that helps simplify the release process for families and the treating facility.

Community Service

The “Wings of Hope” Medical Need Program offers compassionate support to Canadian families who have an immediate family member possibly requiring a stem cell transplant within the first year following the expected baby’s birth. This is the largest program of its kind in Canada, with more than 500 participants1 who have benefited from free cord blood processing and 18 years of storage.

The Cerebral Palsy (CP) Sibling Cord Blood Collection program offers free cord blood collection and storage for newborn babies who have a sibling with cerebral palsy. The program’s goal is to potentially provide children with cerebral palsy and their families the ability to participate in local and international clinical trials.

For more information on Cells for Life’s Medical Need Programs, please visit or call 1-877-235-1997.

Our organization supports public banking by donating significant financial support and effort to the Victoria Angel Registry of Hope. This public cord blood program has provided opportunity for Ontario families to donate cord blood samples since 2005. Donated cord blood samples may be requested for use in stem cell transplants and scientific research.


  • Payment plans for the first-year fees start at $116 per month.
  • Annual storage fees are $165 per cord blood sample, per year, or $315 for both cord blood and tissue per year.
  • While it is recommended to register in advance of your due date so a cord blood collection kit can be sent to you by mail, select hospitals offer collection kits by request on the day of the birth.

Initial fees and annual storage fees are subject to change. For information on pricing, payment plans, and terms and conditions, please visit



  1. Internal data on file.
  2. Rosenthal J, Brown HL, Harris DT. Stem cell recovery following implementation of an automated cord blood processing system in a high volume laboratory. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2008; 14(2):42s.
  3. AXP® II system. ThermoGenesis Holdings, Inc. Published June 14, 2021. 
  4. Marzan AJ, Wilson C, Wheeler-Beunger J, Brown KS, Shamonki JM. Impact of Cord Blood Anticoagulant on Cell Recovery Following Volume and Red Blood Cell Reduction. Data presented at the AABB Meeting, 2020 October.
  5. Rubinstein P. Cord blood banking for clinical transplantation. Bone Marrow Transplantation. 2009; 44:635-642.
  6. Basford C, Forraz N, Habibollah S, Hanger K, McGuckin CP. Umbilical cord blood processing using Prepacyte-CB increases hematopoietic progenitor cell availability over conventional Hetastarch separation. Cell Prolif. 2009; 42(6):751-761.
  7. Skiles, M. L., Marzan, A. J., Brown, K. S. and Shamonki, J. M.  Comparison of umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from cryopreserved material and extracted by explantation and digestion methods utilizing a split manufacturing model.  Cytotherapy.  2020; 22(10):581-591.
  8. Saleh R, Reza HM. Short review on human umbilical cord lining epithelial cells and their potential clinical applications. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017; 8(1):222.
  9. Arizona Geological Survey
  10. Broxmeyer HE, Luchsinger LL, Weinberg RS, et al. Insights into highly engraftable hematopoietic cells from 27-year cryopreserved umbilical cord blood [published online ahead of print, Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2023; 12(S1):S18
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