Public Statement on Cord Blood Bank Incident in Singapore

APRIL 12, 2024 — The Cord Blood Association has recently become aware of a serious and tragic event that occurred at a private cord blood bank in Singapore. In an unprecedented incident, Cordlife Group Limited (CGL) exposed cord blood units to temperatures that were not cold enough to maintain the units’ viability.

Cord blood units stored by thousands of families were damaged, rendering them unsuitable for future use. “Parents put their faith in this bank. This is a huge loss,” said CBA President Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, MD. “There is no way for these units to be replaced.”

This rare incident is an anomaly in an industry that protects cord blood (and its potential) in banks around the world by using proper monitoring and surveillance techniques outlined in industry standards. Cord blood banks use liquid nitrogen freezers with specialized equipment that immediately alerts stakeholders if there are fluctuations from the ultracold temperatures needed to maintain the viability of cord blood cells.

CGL is not a CBA member and is under investigation by their accreditor, the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB), for failure to follow AABB standards requiring robust systems to protect product quality and safety. CGL self-reported the findings of Singapore’s Ministries of Health (MOH) to AABB’s accreditation department, triggering an extensive postnotification protocol for investigation of these serious events. AABB continues to pursue the facts leading to the failures, and Singapore’s MOH placed restrictions on CGL operations as multiple investigations continue.

Initial investigations, reported in local news outlets, suggest that temperature probes in the storage freezers were misplaced during routine maintenance, leading to inaccurate temperature monitoring and warming in the freezers. The full scope of this tragedy will not be known until authorities complete the investigations and independent testing.

“This is a highly unfortunately incident that should have been prevented if proper procedures were followed,” Dr. Kurtzberg said. “CBA wants to reassure the industry and parents banking their babies’ cord blood in family banks that this is an atypical and unexpected event that would be very unlikely to happen in the future.”

The Cord Blood Association is an international nonprofit organization that promotes both public and family cord blood banking and accelerates the use of cord blood and birthing tissues to benefit patients and advance medicine. Our members include both public and family banks and individuals in and served by the cord blood community including cord blood bank personnel, research investigators, laboratory technicians, patients, donors, regulatory officials, vendors, and healthcare providers, such as transplant physicians, obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, and midwives. Learn more about cord blood at and about the association at