Spanish haematologists warn against storing umbilical cord stem cells in private banks

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 18 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7499
  1. Ainhoa Iriberri
  1. 1Madrid

Spanish haematologists are warning against storing umbilical cord stem cells in private foreign clinics because of the risk that transportation will render the cells useless.

The practice of keeping the cells from the umbilical cord in private banks became popular after the Spanish crown prince, Felipe de Borbón, and his wife Letizia made public in 2006 that they sent blood from the umbilical cord of their baby, future queen Leonor, to a private bank in the US. At the time, there were only public stem cell banks in Spain, but shortly afterwards the Ministry of Health authorised the first private bank.

The law governing blood banks means that parents cannot keep umbilical stem cells for their own use, but that—as happens with organ donations—private banks …

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