BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3208 (Published 09 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3208

Stem cell banking of cord blood is promoted in several ways: as gifts, waste, or donation (Sociology of Health and Illness 2012;20:1-16, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01474.x). In focus groups with expectant parents, promotion by commercial companies seems to feed more critical reflection on the value to the newborn. With cord blood units each worth US$20 000-40 000 (£12 350-24 700; €15 000-30 000) to the parents, they are voluntarily donated. There are strong interests at play, with some parents requesting immediate cord clamping (which is necessary for banking purposes) even if there is no clinical indication for doing it.

Survivors of childhood cancer should be followed up for life, yet many are not. In one institution in the United Kingdom, 46% of long term survivors of childhood cancer were lost to follow-up over more than a decade, although a follow-up postal questionnaire proved an effective way to re-engage 39% of these lost survivors. Nearly half the re-engaged group reported at least one late effect of the cancer, and 19% reported …

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