The Discovery Health Medical Scheme is an independent non-profit entity governed by the Medical Schemes Act, and regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes. It is administered by a separate company, Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, an authorised financial services provider.
Netcells- umbilical cord stem cell banking
In a unique offering, we have been able to arrange an exclusive offer for medical scheme members with Next Biosciences – Africa’s leading Biotech Company that combines medicine, science and technology to create innovative products and services, enabling you to invest in your future health. Netcells, Next Biosciences’ umbilical cord stem cell banking service, gives expectant parents the opportunity to collect their new born baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells and cryogenically store them for potential future medical use.
Please note that the expenses related to stem cell banking will not be covered by your scheme. The cash discount that is offered is passed directly on to you and is not paid from your health plan benefits.
Members of selected schemes administered by Discovery Health can get up to 25% off the stem cell banking fee when they register to store their baby’s stem cells with Netcells. The discount applies to the Netcells Banking Fee and the amount depends on the payment plan you choose:
- 25% discount on payment upon registration,
- 15% discount on payment on stem cells being successfully banked or
- 10% discount on payment on a payment plan
Netcells offers flexible storage options and interest-free payment plans allowing you to tailor-make a plan to suit your needs.
What are stem cells, where are they found and what are they used for?
Stem cells are the original building blocks of life and, differentiate into all the specialised cells that make up the human body – like skin, blood cells, muscle, bones and nerves. Stem cells are found in the body where they continually maintain and repair the tissues.
However, harvesting stem cells from our bodies is difficult but cord blood and tissue in the umbilical cord contains large numbers of stem cells that are easily accessible. Collecting umbilical cord blood and tissue at birth is free of moral, ethical and religious concerns, as the umbilical cord and placenta are normally discarded as medical waste.
Umbilical cord bloodContains haematopoietic (blood) stem cells which are used to regenerate bone marrow and are routinely used to treat over 80 blood related diseases such as Fanconi’s anaemia, leukaemia, lymphoma, thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. New therapies, using these stem cells, are also being researched on cerebral palsy, stroke, autism, hearing loss and type 1 diabetes.
Umbilical cord tissue
- Contains mesenchymal stem cells, which are being employed in the research environment for a variety of aesthetic and medical conditions
- Current trials include skin regeneration in wound healing and anti-ageing treatments, neurology (multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury), orthopaedics (rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis), sports injury (cartilage and ligament repair); cardiology (heart muscle regeneration), auto-immune diseases (Crohn’s and Lupus) and many other areas.
Who can use the banked stem cells?
Stem cells represent a perfect match for the baby who they’ve been collected from, and pose no risk of rejection when transplanted. There is also a good possibility (1 in 4) that the stem cells will be a suitable match for a sibling.
Why store with Netcells?
Netcells is accredited with the AABB and was the first cord blood bank in Southern Africa to receive this accreditation. This gives you peace of mind knowing that should your baby’s stem cells ever be needed, that they have been processed and stored according to validated international quality standards.
When should I register and what happens after I register?
It is advisable to register with Netcells well in advance so that you can have your collection kit delivered in good time for the birth.
Once your registration and confirmation of initial payment is received, an arrangement will be made to get a Netcells collection kit to you. You must take the collection kit box to the birth of your baby so that the obstetrician or midwife can collect the stem cells after your baby has been delivered.
For more information about umbilical cord stem cell banking, please contact Netcells by telephone on
011 697 2900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at https://nextbio.co.za/netcells/