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Stem Cell Banking Evokes Mixed Response

Cord blood banking initiative by Sir Richard Branson has received a mixed and varied response in Britain. While this was welcomed by the doctors and scientific community,// others opined that it may not be as beneficial as it sounds.

The human blood extracted from placenta and umbilical cord is called cord blood. This can be collected before the placenta is delivered or after the newborn baby is separated from the umbilical cord. This blood is an excellent source of hematopoietic stem cells which can be further stored and used for transplantation needs.

Currently there are private and public cord blood banks. While the public banks are generally used for everyone, private ones are meant for the families of the donors.

According to Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research, the use of these stem cells can only be limited to treat a set of disorders of the blood. But the embryonic stem cells may have more remedial measures in treating degenerative diseases.

Many of them seem to concur with the guarded approach of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) which felt that children from low-risk families cannot be treated with private cord blood.

Dr Jacky Boivin from Cardiff University feels that the family should be adequately informed about the storage of cold blood and they should not under any circumstances be forced to take emotional decisions.

But the midwives have a different perspective to the entire issue. They feel that their primary objective of delivering a baby should not be diverted as safety of the mother and the newborn is of utmost importance than drawing blood from the cord or placenta.

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