Who Can Use My Baby’s Cord Blood and Will the Cord Blood Bank Give It to Other People?

Because there is so much concern over the ethical nature of stem cells and stem cell research many people question what will become of their baby’s cord blood and if it will be given to other people. Keep in mind that this is a unique specimen of blood from your very own child and it will be only a 100% match for him or her, based on specific genetic markers. This also prompts parents to ask if other family members can benefit in the future from a newborn’s cord blood, or more specifically the stem cells within the blood. The answer to this is actually simpler than you might think.

Family Members and Baby’s Umbilical Cord Blood

First of all, without your explicit consent no one under any circumstances has access to the babies cord blood at any time during the child’s minority. Once the child reaches the age of consent it becomes his or her decision. Rest assured that any reputable cord blood bank will not allow anyone to have access to your baby’s blood and stem cells.

Now then, let’s talk about how those stem cells will match up to another person. Generally speaking, few if any people will be an exact match and would be able to benefit from those specimens. Based on genetic markers only that particular child will be positively a 100% match. Siblings will be enough of a match in about one quarter of the cases to be able to utilize the blood/stem cells but other family members may not be a match at all. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to find a stem cell match when a donor is needed outside the family. Actually, at this point in time we are talking bone marrow rather than stems cells as much of this medical technology has yet to be approved but will be so in the very near future.

Ethical Matters Should Be a Primary Concern

One of the reasons why many people are reluctant to sign on with a cord blood bank is because they are operating under out dated misconceptions. There was a time when fetuses, primarily aborted fetuses, were being utilized in medical studies for stem cell research. This brought on a huge effort on the part of the community to put a halt to this unsavory practice. First of all, understand that this blood is collected from a segment of the umbilical cord, does not harm your child, and is never taken from fetuses.

Collecting cord blood is a painless procedure and in no way ethically controversial. If you have concerns about the moral issues in regards to cord blood banking, then take the time to do a bit of personal research. You will see that this is completely safe for your baby and no babies are ever aborted just collect stem cells for others, including family members. Just think about the potential for diseases such as leukemia and many forms of cancer which can be treated by regenerating healthy cells from your very own umbilical stem cells. The possibilities are endless and this is purely an ethical solution and infinitely safer than chemotherapy and/or radiation.

This post was written by Laura for Life Bank USA, a leading cord blood bank in the United States.

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