Cutting the cord

. February 18, 2013.
cordbloodbanking

Expectant parents may not be aware that they will have access to a potential lifesaving resource, essentially as a “side effect” of the process of birth
itself. But the Ohio General Assembly has recently passed a bill requiring healthcare professionals to make information available to pregnant women regarding the potential benefits of umbilical cord blood banking, a technique which has a number of promising therapeutic applications.
Umbilical cord blood banking involves preserving blood that is draw from the umbilical cord and placenta following childbirth. Without the parents’ consent, this blood would be discarded as medical waste, but in fact it can be medically useful. So-called “cord blood” contains stem cells, which have the unique ability to regenerate themselves. These cells can be used in the treatment of blood cancers and genetic blood diseases.
In addition, promising research points the way toward the use of cord blood cells to treat conditions as diverse
as stroke, hearing loss, and Type 1
diabetes.
While the public is well aware of the potential uses of embryonic stem cells, because of the ethical issues that have been raised in many quarters regarding them, the use of umbilical cord blood banking presents fewer moral quandaries. Now, the state of Ohio has decided that parents will be aware of a valuable opportunity to help save lives—and the life you save may be your own, or your child’s.
See www.odh.ohio.gov for more information.