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Plea to women banking cord blood

New mothers should be discouraged from banking their umbilical-cord blood as insurance in case their child gets ill later in life, an expert says.

The blood is highly unlikely to be used and the practice could impede care on the maternity ward, consultant obstetrician Leroy Edozien warns.

Women should instead donate altruistically to public blood banks, he told the British Medical Journal.

Cord blood is rich in stem cells that can treat diseases such as leukaemia.

Issues

Bone marrow can also be used, but cord blood is cheaper and easier to obtain and is less likely to cause health problems in the recipient.

Mothers can donate their umbilical cord blood to the NHS Cord Blood Bank with the aim of helping others.

Those from families with a high risk of a genetic disorder can also store the blood with the NHS in case they need to treat one of their children in the future.

"Time spent on collecting cord blood is time away from the care of this mother, the baby, and, critically, other patients"
Researcher Leroy Edozien

Increasingly, other mothers have become interested in storing their cord blood in case one of their children falls ill in the future.

Some believe it could also be a good insurance policy for their own future health, should stem cell technology ever provide a cure for conditions such as cancer.

Commercial companies exist that offer personal cord banking services for a fee of up to £1,500.

Numerous medical bodies, including the Royal ... continue > 


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Published: 16 October 2006      Ref: BBC News

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