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  Cord Blood Banking
  About Cord Blood
  Cord Blood Stem Cells
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  Pros and Cons
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  Why Cord Blood Banking
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  Public Cord Blood Bank
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  Cost For Cord Blood Banking
  Ethical Issues
  Cord Blood FAQs

Ethical Issues Related To Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking

We all know the benefits of umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants. It can be used to treat a number of blood or immune system related diseases. You can either donate it to be used by others who need it or you can store it exclusively for your future use only. Either way, the cord blood can be used to save lives.

There are however certain ethical and legal issues surrounding cord blood donation.

Whose Blood Is It Anyway?

There are issues about who actually owns the cord blood sample. On one hand it is argued that being a part of the mother's body it is her property. On the other, since it formed an integral and biological part of the child in the womb it is said to belong to the child. This issue is yet to be resolved. Most private banks however follow the same norms, which is, the cord blood sample is in the name of the child but the mother acts as the trustee until the child attains the legal age of 18. After that ownership falls solely on the child. During the period that the mother is the trustee, the cord blood can be used for transplant on the child or a sibling if the need arises as this would be in the best interests of the child.

Cord blood donation raises a different issue. Here the blood is donated by the mother so it does not belong to the child at all. There are still arguments going on as to whether the child will have any rights over the donated cord blood once he or she turns 18. In all probability, the blood will be treated as a gift from the mother to society and the child will have no claims over it.

Issues About Private Banking

There are conflicting views on the necessity for storing ones cord blood for private use. There is a section of the medical community who says that there is no need for cord blood preservation exclusively for the use of the donor. They argue that chances of an individual using his own cord blood stem cells for a transplant are low as he may never require it. They also state that in the case of genetic disorders, it would be better for the patient to use cord blood of an unrelated donor. They also claim that private banks advertise by manipulating human emotions to convince people to bank their cord blood just to make profits.

Those who support private cord blood banks rubbish the above claims. It is true that there is a slim chance that the donor may not require his own cord blood, but it will still be available for treatment of parents or siblings. Private banks do advertise a lot about their services, but that is because people need to be informed about the different cord blood banks available and their services.

It is up to you to evaluate the ethical issues mentioned above and make your decision. If you want the assurance of your own umbilical cord blood stem cells being available for you and your family whenever required, then you should bank it in a private bank.

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