Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

This Week In The Bmj

Commercial cord blood banking: should we encourage it?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 12 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0-d

Rapid Response:

Commercial Cord Blood Banking: further examination needed

Leroy C Edozien’s article, “Commercial Cord Blood Banking: should we
encourage it?” raises some important issues and questions that should be
examined further.

These include:

• Quality. Private Cord Blood Banks in the UK are required to meet
the regulations laid out by the Human Tissue Act. A number of Cord Blood
Banks have also received full accreditation by the Medicines and
Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (UK Department of Health).

• Medicolegal and ethical considerations. Responsible private banks
ask parents to sign a disclaimer; absolving healthcare professionals from
any litigation should samples be unsuitable for storage.

• Altruistic donation. A vast majority of mothers will not be given
this option, collections are only available at four hospitals in the UK.
Therefore, the argument that banking privately deprives the public bank is

• The exploitation of vulnerable parents. Responsible private cord
blood banks make a great deal of effort to ensure that parents are fully
aware of not only the potential benefits of cord blood stem cells, but
also their limitations. Parents are also informed that should any
difficulties arise during birth, which may affect the health of mother or
child, the cord blood will not be collected.

• Wasting resources. Many banks also provide a nurse collection
service, to collect the blood, leaving the healthcare professionals free
to attend to the mother and child at time of birth.

Private cord blood stem cell banks take a great interest in the
concerns raised by the medical profession and we endeavour to respond to
them, maintain a dialogue and change practices to ensure we meet the
latest guidelines.

We are always pleased to respond to any queries or comments from
healthcare professionals and would welcome a discussion on any of the
issues raised by the Leroy C Edozien article.

Competing interests:
Roger Dainty is the director of Future Health Technologies, a commercial cord blood stem cell bank based in Nottingham.

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 October 2006
Roger Dainty
Future Health Technologies, Nottingham Science and Technology Park, Nottingham, NG7 2QP