Investigations have revealed that Cordlife, a cord blood banking service in Singapore, had exposed cryopreserved cord blood units to temperatures above acceptable limits in seven of its storage tanks since November 2020. This has affected around 2,150 clients and approximately 2,200 cord blood units. Lawyers have suggested that affected clients have grounds to seek recourse against Cordlife, but the type and quantum of damages will depend on the terms of their contract with the company. The contractual liability of Cordlife varies, with damages ranging from US$25,000 to S$50,000, and the company’s liability may not exceed the amount of fees the client has paid. The courts may also award further damages considering the compromised “peace of mind” aspect of Cordlife’s service.
Following the audits conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Cordlife has been directed to halt the collection, testing, processing, and storage of new cord blood and human tissues. Investigations are ongoing for the other six storage tanks, which contain around 17,300 units belonging to approximately 17,050 clients. Concerns have been raised about Cordlife’s capability to maintain the other stored cord blood units, but experts believe that insolvency is unlikely. Affected parties are advised to await an official response from Cordlife before considering legal recourse and can approach the Consumers Association of Singapore for mediation.