Chapter-21 Cord Blood Banking—Practices and Ethical Considerations

BOOK TITLE: Ethical Dilemmas in Perinatal Medicine

1. Elchalal Uriel
Publishing Year
Author Affiliations
1. Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
Chapter keywords


Human umbilical cord blood has proven to be a feasible alternative source of hematopoietic stem cells for pediatric and some adult patients with major hematologic and genetic disorders. There is also an increasing interest on cord blood as an alternative to embryos as a source for regenerative medicine. This has promoted the establishment of cord blood banks for use in unrelated transplants worldwide. The banking of umbilical cord blood offers many advantages: absence of donor risk, absence of donor attrition, immediate availability, and the ability to expand available donor pools in targeted ethnic and racial minorities currently under-represented in all bone marrow registries. Efficient banking requires volume reduction of cord blood units without significant loss of progenitor cells, in order to decrease storage space and cost, and this may be achieved in the future by using the separation techniques. Cryopreservation and thawing techniques have been established and do not seem to affect the viability and progenitor cell recovery or the feasibility of CD34 + selection and ex-vivo expansion. Nevertheless, many scientific, ethical, and social questions have arisen in connection with cord blood banking collection, distribution, and use that need to be addressed. The current review addresses the scientific aspects of cord blood banking, collection methods, and transplantation and discusses the ethical considerations of established and investigational cord blood use.

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