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Ministry of Health will ensure that Cordlife addresses all its lapses

We thank Ms Claire Tan Tze Kiac for her letter “Parents affected by Cordlife lapses have questions of concern” (Dec 4).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) understands that the recent lapses found at Cordlife Group Limited are distressing to parents who have stored cord blood units (CBUs) with them.

All cord blood banking services in Singapore must meet the requirements under the Healthcare Services (Cord Blood Banking Service) Regulations.

The regulations, which came into effect in January 2022, are intended to strengthen the governance of cord blood banking service providers, and provide clarity on critical requirements for cord blood banking, such as the safe processing, storage and distribution of CBUs by licensees.

MOH will investigate all complaints received of suspected breaches of the regulations. If confirmed, appropriate regulatory and enforcement actions will be taken against the licensee.

While investigations are under way, we are working with Cordlife to address its shortcomings, and strengthen its governance, systems and processes.

MOH is currently closely supervising Cordlife’s cord blood banking activities, inventory management and the conduct of viability studies to assess the impact on the CBUs in the affected tanks. This will ensure that Cordlife has implemented effective processes to maintain its storage facilities and to prevent similar incidents.

Some parents have asked about transferring their CBUs currently banked with Cordlife to another cord blood bank. The transfer of CBUs carries risks and should be an option that is considered carefully, accompanied by detailed discussions with the receiving cord blood bank.

Beyond these immediate measures to protect the interest of the public and Cordlife’s clients, MOH will take steps to ensure that all relevant industry players learn from this episode.

We will also review the regulatory requirements for cord blood banking service providers regularly.

Elaine Teo
Director, Aged and Ancillary Service Regulations and Transformation
Ministry of Health

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