You are here

Family Bank: Cells for Life

Cells for Life


Cells for Life is one of the oldest and largest accredited cord blood banks in Canada and has stored more than 45,000 cord blood units since 1997. Now, they also provide Canadians with the opportunity to store their child’s cord tissue using patented state-of-the-art technology.

Labs and Locations

Cells for Life is one of the oldest and largest accredited cord blood banks in Canada. Since 1997, the company has stored more than 45,000 cord blood units and released seven samples for transplant.

With their lab located inside Toronto General Hospital, Cells for Life guarantees 24-hour security, emergency back-up power, and underground tunnels that provide safe and efficient transport of frozen samples for medical treatment. It also has offices in Markham, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal to make cord blood and tissue banking accessible to all Canadians coast-to-coast.

The company offers parents the option to store their child’s cord tissue as well, which contains unique mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that may treat additional conditions in the future. Cells for Life stands out from its competitors by using patented, state-of-the-art "TRT" technology - a superior method for safely isolating and storing MSCs.

Keeping their customers’ best interest in mind, Cells for Life is one of the few banks that tests all samples to provide families with proof that their cells are healthy and able to grow. This step is especially vital when it comes to cord tissue since these cells must be grown to be used in treatment.

Cells for Life provides significant financial support to Ontario’s first public cord blood bank, the Victoria Angel Registry of Hope Public Cord Blood Bank. Finally, the company’s stellar transplant success rate reminds customers that they are guaranteed state-of-the-art processing and storage, unrivaled scientific expertise, safe and secure storage of their samples, and financial stability.

Business Experience

Cells for Life has been the expert in cord blood banking since 1997. Being one of the first cord blood banks in Canada to obtain AABB (2004) and FACT (2012) accreditation, Cells for Life is also Health Canada Inspected & Compliant (CTO #100044). Their commitment to storing samples in a safe, clean, and secure facility has rendered an excellent transplant success rate.

Their exemplary scientific team is headed by Dr. Elisabeth Semple, an internationally recognized leader in the field of stem cells. Her years of experience and strict adherence to quality standards have led her and Cells for Life to national and international conferences to showcase outstanding research and published data. Additionally, Cells for Life always stays up-to-date on new, cutting edge research so it’s continually aware of the latest applications and uses of cord blood stem cells.

Collection Kit

Cells for Life is the only private Canadian cord blood bank that uses the MacoPharma Collection bag, which features a unique CPD flush pad that has been shown to increase the number of collected cells by 13%*. Its unique collection bag is also approved for both caesarian and vaginal births.

* Reference: June 16, 2016. SOGC Abstract. FLUSH! A SIMPLE TIP TO INCREASE COLLECTION VOLUMES OF CORD BLOOD, Authors Michael Virro, Donna Malcolm, Patrick Storr, Leanne Casbourn, Eva Firedman, & Elizabeth Semple

Transportation container

The Cells for Life collection kit is designed to maintain room temperature at all times. The use of a data logger helps monitor the temperature throughout the shipping process to ensure that every sample is safe during transportation. Cells for Life also tests the collection kit on a regular basis to verify that its temperature remains within acceptable limits at all times.

Shipping Info

Cells for Life arranges the shipping for all clients coast to coast, using different shipping methods depending on the birthing hospital.

  1. Localized personalized service: Cells for Life employees pick up cord blood units from the mother’s bedside at more than 40 different hospitals in Southern Ontario, the GTA, Calgary, and Montreal so parents can enjoy quality time with their baby after birth.
  2. All other locations in Canada: Cells for Life uses approved medical couriers throughout Canada to give parents the peace of mind that their sample is always in good hands. 

Cells for Life’s bedside pick-up and in-bound shipping rates are cost effective. In most cases, a portion of the shipping fee is subsidized by Cells for Life. Please contact Cells for Life shipping department for more details: 1-877-235-1997 x 229.

Processing Method

Cord blood processing at Cells for Life is done by one of two semi-automated, closed processing methods, which provide high cell recovery rates and excellent cell viability. They use a process referred to as the “top-and-bottom” method. The addition of a starch solution, as done by some companies, is not required with our methods.

Cord tissue processing at Cells for Life is done using a patented, state-of-the-art "TRT" technology. Cells for Life is the only Canadian cord bank using this superior method, which safely stores and isolates the cells that matter most in cord tissue - MSC’s. As well, parents are provided with proof that the cells are healthy and able to grow, which is a requirement for these cells to be used in treatment.

Components Stored

Cord Blood: Cells for Life stores the buffy coat containing the blood-forming (Hematopoietic) stem cells.

Cord Tissue: Cells for Life isolates the MSC’s (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) within the vessels of the cord tissue.

Storage Method

  • Cord Blood Units are stored over-wrapped in 25mL cryobags, with three segments, placed in a stainless steel protective canister.
  • All Cord Blood Units and Cord Tissue samples are placed in quarantine until receipt of infectious disease testing.
  • Both Cord Blood and Tissue is stored in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen at all times.

Licensing & Accreditation

Cells for Life is:
•    Health Canada inspected and compliant (CTO# 100044)
•    AABB accredited since 2004
•    FACT accredited since July 2012
•    FDA Registered
•    A+ rating with the US Better Business Bureau

Clinical Experience

Since 1997, Cells for Life has stored more than 45,000 samples.

Seven samples have been released for therapy. Six Samples werer released for use at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada. Five of these samples were used for sibling transplants (allogeneic) in the treatment of Hematological Diseases, and one child used their own sample for therapy (autologus) in the treatment of a brain tumour. The seventh child used their own sample for therapy (autologus) at Duke University Hospital in the United States for treatment of hypoxic brain injury that resulted from a stroke before birth. This child’s ability to move has greatly improved.


Cells for Life will not increase the annual storage fees for the length of the contract.

Community Service

Cells for Life was the first Canadian cord blood bank to establish a medical need program in 2002. The "Angel" Directed Donation Medical Need Program provides funding to expectant parents with a family member who is currently suffering from a disease that can be treated with cord blood stem cells. Through this program, Cells for Life covers the cost of: the collection kit, registration, processing, and first year of storage.

Cells for Life has a low-income program for those who wish to store their cord blood and/or cord tissue but have financial constraints prohibiting them to do so. For more information please contact the accounting department at 1-877-235-1997 x 233.

Cells for Life also supports public banking by donating significant financial support and effort to Victoria Angel Registry of Hope. Cells for Life’s philosophy is to assure that no cord blood unit goes to waste and that every family has an increased chance of finding a matched unit.


Option 1: Cord Blood, Annual Payment  

  • At registration: $140.00 for collection kit (non-refundable)
  • After birth: $860.00 (processing and medical testing)
  • Annual storage fee: $125.00
  • Total cost: $1,125.00 (taxes and courier fees extra)


Option 2: Cord Blood, 18-year pre-payment - SAVE $400.00

  • At registration: $140.00 for collection kit (non-refundable)
  • At birth: $860.00 (processing and medical testing)
  • Cord blood storage: $1,850.00
  • Total cost: $2,850.00 (taxes and courier fees extra)

Option 3: Cord Tissue, Annual Payment

  • At registration: $140.00
  • At birth: $850.00
  • Cord tissue storage: $125.00
  • Total cost: $1,115.00 (taxes and courier fees extra)

Option 4: Cord Tissue & Cord Blood, Annual Payment

  • At registration: $165.00
  • At birth: $1,535.00
  • Cord & tissue storage: $250.00
  • Total cost: $1,950.00 (taxes and courier fees extra)

Storage Fees Options

  • Annual: $125 per year (plus tax), no increase for 18 years
  • Pay in Advance 18 years: $1,850 (plus tax), saves $400

Payment Plans & Discounts

  • Returning Clients: Receive $125 off cord blood/cord tissue processing
  • Referral Program: Refer a friend or family member to reduce your annual storage fee.
  • Twins/Multiple Births: Receive $300 in savings
  • 3 Payment Plan: 3 consecutive monthly installments ($25 administrative fee included)
  • 12 Month Plan: 12 consecutive monthly installments ($25 administrative fee included)
  • 18 Year Plan: 18 year pay in advance installment plans available please visit 

Additional Services

In 2016, Cells for Life branched into the world of cord tissue storage. Cord tissue is the actual umbilical cord, which consists of a gelatinous jelly and blood vessels that contain mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Different from stem cells found in cord blood, these cells may enhance cord blood transplants and treat additional conditions in the future. MSCs are in the early stages of clinical development, but current  trials are looking at their effectiveness to treat orthopedic conditions, wound care, and autoimmune disorders*. Although researchers need to see the outcome of these clinical trials before cord tissue can be routinely used in medical treatments, Cells for Life offers parents the option to store it due to its amazing potential. Just like cord blood stem cells, cord tissue is easily collected at the time of birth and poses no risks to the mother and baby. 

*References on file


Address: 379 Church Street, Markham, Ontario L6B 0T1, Canada
Phone Numbers
(Toll Free): 1-877-235-1997 (Sans Frais): 1-877-714-7007 (Chinese): 1-888-268-1888